The History of Hypnotists

This Section is designed to explain some of the key figures from the art of hypnosis.

The earliest information on hypnosis date back from ancient Egyptian times however references to a sleep like state can be found in ancient religions such as Voodoo and druidic. We will try to deal with people from modern times  and who helped develop hypnotism it to where it is today.

Franz Mesmer

This man and Austrian physician  was responsible for the art of mesmerizing and believed all diseases were a result of blockages of the magnetic flow in the body. This man believed he could store magnetism in casks and barrels and believed he could but the magnetism into the patients body by passing his hands other the body. He would tell his clients that they would feel better. It is thought that the mesmerizing he did actually put his clients in to hypnosis.

James Braid

Braid was a British doctor and discovered it was possible to induce hypnosis by eye fixation i.e. stare at a object and was responsible for calling this trance like state hypnotism and published a book on the subject.

James Esdaile

A British doctor he discovered hypnotism can be used to ease pain and performed lots of operations using only hypnosis to control the pain, He tried to convince his colleagues of the benefits however they weren't having any of it.

Milton Erickson

Milton discovered you can actually hypnotise a patient without all the palaver of swinging watches or fixation He is considered the farther of clinical hypnosis.

Ormand McGill

I have lots of respect for this mans work considered to be the dean of American hypnotists wrote lots of books on hypnosis including the new encyclopaedia of stage hypnotists. His understanding of different mesmerising and religious trances helped him devise new ways of doing things and gave him a great understanding in to hypnotic trances which he shares in his books.

How hypnosis works

Hypnosis is a very interesting and efficient technique to access the subconscious of a person. But still, how does it work? How can it make someone tell you their darkest secrets? What really happens during a hypnosis session? For someone that never went through it, being brought to a trance, to be able to tell thing you didnít even know they are real may seem like a science-fiction scenario. Being somewhat asleep, yet rather awake, hypnosis is hard to understand by many of us. Still, it manages to fascinate us.

The technique first appeared in the 1700s, when a German doctor, by his name Franz Mesmer, appeared like mesmerizing his patients. Of course, everyone thought back then that it is a cheap trick, calling the doctor a charlatan. It is very likely that even today, some people believe the same thing. But, everyone should know that this technique was research and verified in time by scientific studies. Doctor Mesmer got is reputation back, and hypnotists are now respected members of the psychology field.

Even if hypnosis is still used in many cases, scientists do not have a complete answer to what happens in the brain during the procedure. Due to EEG scans of the brain while in this trance, they are getting closer to the response they are looking for. One thing they found out is that both hypnosis and meditation have the same type of neurophysiological profile. In both situations, there was noticed a decrease in fast brain wave activity, which is connected to thinking and processing information, while slow waves increase, which are the ones that trigger focus and relaxation. A very good example of how it works is in the treatment of patients that suffer from various painful conditions. Pain is a feeling that is initially processed by our brain, and only afterwards sent in different parts of the body. With the help of hypnosis, you can reduce the intensity of the pain by telling patients to imagine that the pain is actually minor, which will translate into a lower activity of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for managing pain, and in the rest of the body. To put it in other words, these patientsí brain will interpret pain in a different way, more pleasant and manageable for their organism.

The results of hypnosis sessions for people that suffer from various illnesses have spectacular results. About 80% of them will record a decrease in pain. For half of them, this decrease will last for the following hours after the session ended as well. Also, by practicing meditation, these people can learn to command their brain to reduce the pain by themselves, which will help them be painkiller free. Thus, as a conclusion, hypnosis is similar to a state of daydreaming, when you are aware of your thoughts and imagination, but you are not bothered by what is happening around you. By being focused and relaxed, during hypnosis, the specialist has a direct line to the thinking that your brain does behind the scene, things like you normally do without being aware, just like breathing. 



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