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History Of Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy has been used for many centuries and difficult to attribute its true beginnings. Ancient Greek, Hindu and Egyptian civilisations used hypnosis to analyse dreams, helping to understand  problems. The use of a rhythmic beat or chanting has been used by shamans for thousands of years, altering the state of mind of a person and sending them into a trance.

Modern hypnotherapy however can be attributed to the work of Franz Mesmer during the 18th century.

The Austrian physician developed the theory of 'animal magnetism' claiming disease was due to a block in magnetic forces flowing around the body. These forces are now often referred to in alternative therapy as 'life energy'. Mesmer used magnets and sweeping arm movements across a patient's body claiming to unblock any energy flows that were causing disease. This slow rhythmic movement and his power of suggestion to the patient that something was about to happen are the roots of hypnotherapy methods used today.

Hypnotherapy developed further in Britain during the 19th century when Scottish optometrist James Braid noted an important part of sending a person into a trance was through their fixating on an object. Once in a trance-like state they were susceptible to suggestion. The image of a hypnotherapist swinging a watch is directly from Braid's study as the watch was a popular object used by early practitioners.

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