The actual history and records of hypnosis are somewhat contradictory depending on whom you talk to and how it is researched. For thousands of years the topic of hypnosis has been scrutinized just as much as it has been mesmerizing. The idea that we can place ourselves into a hypnotic state, control things and beings with our mind and even break nasty habits has always intrigued the general population and even as of late, science continues to probe this topic, discovering news things by the day.
If we travel down the historic path of hypnosis we learn that in religions such as Hindu and in far off places like Egypt, hypnotism has been around since the break of dawn. Occultists, doctors and medicinal practitioners have recorded rituals that are eerily similar to our current practices and understandings of hypnosis. During those times hypnosis was typically used in healing practices and as a way for religious folks to communicate with their relatives that had passed or with their respective Gods and/or Goddesses.
Other research has unveiled Franz Anton Mesmer as the Godfather of hypnosis dating back to the 1700’s. As a Viennese medical doctor, Mesmer (from which we have derived the word mesmerize) was said to be the first person to move the already occultist practice of hypnosis into a scientific arena. His interests lay directly in how our minds work and how other theorist’s applications such as Newton’s also improved the hypnotic abilities that humans innately have.
Combining his previous studies of theory and law, as well as some of Newton’s theories of gravity and magnetic, Mesmer lead a lucrative and rather unconventional practice of healing those with acute maladies using hypnosis, magnetic components and other mental practices. In most cases his patients were cured immediately and this was largely due to using magnets, along with will power to gravitationally maneuver and disrupt fluids from certain body parts.
Other researchers credit James Braid as the modern father of hypnosis because it was he who really studied things such as eye fixations and the physical happenings when humans become so transfixed on something that they actually travel through the mind to other planes and realms. Having his patients transfix on illuminated objects such as flickering candlelight and mirrors he found that they eye lids would inevitably become heavy and close, while the patient themselves remained quite aware of their surroundings.
Throughout his career Braid recorded over 45 patients that he successfully cured with hypnosis. Their ailments included limited mobility, stroke victims and spinal cord injuries. He also included studies where hypnosis did not work which made him more credible.
Braid reasoned that hypnotic states were vastly successful not only because the mind is more malleable and susceptible while relaxed but also because human’s other senses such as hearing and touching were more keen while in trance states.
Within the 20th century research on hypnosis has continued to vastly improve and medical professionals such as Ivan Tyrrell have found that hypnotic states are directly related to our REM patterns and are scientifically recorded as being helpful to patients, particularly those who suffer from mental ailments such as anxiety, PTSD and depression.
If we consider how our minds work and the feelings associated with specific events, it is not difficult to conceive that there is some relevancy to hypnosis. Everyone at one point or another has found themselves daydreaming; perhaps you have experienced driving and getting lost in thought and suddenly have no recollection of seeing things in between point A and point B. Or a vivid memory has brought you back to that place and time so much that it actually felt as though you traveled back there momentarily. These are the wonders of the human psyche.
Hypnotizing someone can be done with or without their permission though certified professionals advise never to do so without permission. Generally it involves having the person you want to place in a trance state to focus on something-your eyes, a moving object, or a lighted fixture-whatever helps them to focus and relax. Then using a low and calm voice, the person gives a series of commands or suggestions while they are focused on whatever objects you have given them. This will induce a trance like state. While in this state the person is awake and aware, but the mind is able to grasp certain things more acutely and the power of suggestion is intensified due to the relaxed and trusting state they are in.
Today hypnosis is still used for many purposes such as treating physical ailments, to assist in breaking bad habits or patterns and as a technique or therapy for mental disabilities. Since we gravitate between our conscious and unconscious state of minds, hypnosis has been proven effective in many forms of therapy. Since many of our ailments and habits lie within our subconscious, altering that part of the thought has proved successful in things like quitting smoking and over eating, as well as helping with emotional traumas.
It has also worked on patients that suffer from stuttering, bed wetting, obesity and panic attacks. Although scientists and researchers still do not totally understand how meshing the conscious and subconscious works when treating and curing ailments, our recorded history shows that hypnosis has and continues to gain momentum in the occult and medical arenas.