Hypnosis has been described under various names, and has been used as a therapeutic tool throughout the man history.  As far as we are able to accurately trace back the history of man, there are records of the use of hypnosis for healing.  There is no mystery surrounding one of the greatest tools that man has used throughout the centuries.

The use of hypnosis for healing can be traced back to 3,000 BC and  the times of ancient Egypt were the earliest known hypnotic sessions were recorded on a stone stele.

In 2,000 BC the father of Chinese medicine, Wond Tai, wrote about the technique involving incantations and 'the passing of hands'

Of course, both the old and new testament of the Bible refer us to what could be deemed to be hypnosis and indeed suggestions to people within a hypnotized state.  It is just best to say that use of hypnosis is recorded throughout the ages and across many, many cultures.

The starting point for today's hypnotherapy is the 18th century and a Viennese physician called Franz Anton Mesmer.  It is in fact this person that lent his name to mesmerism.

Franz Mesmer was born in 1734 in Austria.  He grew up in a world that was turning more to science,  Mesmer himself had an interest in astronomy, and in the works of Maximillian Hell, a Jesuit priest, on the curative effects of magnets.  Because of this interest, Mesmer developed a theory that 'when the ebb and flow within an organism became out of balance with the universal rhythm mental imbalance or nervous illnesses could result.

Mesmer also believed that this imbalance could be corrected with magnets.   Mesmer spent 16 years at universities and was awarded two doctorates, one in medicine and one in philosophy.

Mesmer, using a mixture of conventional medical methods and the use of magnets, drew himself a lot of attention in Vienna.  Mesmer soon obtained a number of remarkable cures and listed in his first published report, cures for epilepsy, hysteria, melancholia and fitful fever.

These cures were effected by the application of horseshoe shaped magnets on the chest and the soles of the patients feet.  But Mesmer also realized that the magnets were not too important as almost anything would do in the place of magnets.  Mesmer also published a letter in which he asserted that magnets only acted as a conductor for the force or 'fluid' that influenced the patient

Mesmer believed that the hypnotic effect was caused by what he called 'animal magnetism', and this magnetism he thought was an invisible magnetic fluid that came from living bodies.  Mesmer also thought that this fluid could be transmitted to certain inanimate objects, such as a large tub filled with water and iron fillings, or even certain trees.  Effectively Mesmer saw 'animal magnetism' as something that could be harnessed and stored in the same way that today we 'store' electricity in a car battery.

Although Mesmer's technique may seem quite strange by today's standards, yet,  Mesmer did in fact have many spectacular cures using his hypnotic techniques.

For unknown  reasons Mesmer left Vienna, but it is believed that the 'powers that be' were unhappy about the use of his 'animal magnetism' and that also Mesmer was involved in a protracted argument that involved unpleasant scenes, with the family of a blind girl who disputed his claimed cure.


Hypnosis History