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'
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.
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
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
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.
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