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History of Hypnosis

     During the 1700s, one of the most well known figures in hypnosis history was an Austrian by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer.    Throughout the 18th century, he led the way in the usage of trance, which earned him the nickname, "Father of Hypnosis."    It is also through his name that we find the term, "mesmerism."  

   While many praised Mesmer's healing powers, which were often accompanied with lights and other gimmicks, he was often criticized by his peers who thought his antics were not based on sound medical theory.

  During the 1800's, a French scientist, Abbe Castodi de Faria, investigated the effects of hypnosis as it related to the trance state.  He is known for creating a method of inducing trance known as the "fixed-gaze method, which more or less launched stage hypnotism shows.  During this same time,  a physician in England, John Elliotson, pioneered the use of magnetism and hypnosis for the easing of pain during surgery.

    Dr. James Braid (1795-1860), a Scottish surgeon, is referred to as the "father of modern hypnosis".  He brought animal magnetism out of the dark and brought it into the domain of science and coined the term hypnotism, from the Greek word hypnos, meaning sleep.  Thus was born the efficacy, methodology, and techniques of our current practice, hypnotherapy.
    Skipping ahead to modern-day acceptance of hypnosis for the treatment of specific medical conditions, after being used as a way to help soldiers of World Wars I, II, and the Korean War, recover from psychological techniques using hypnoanalysis and hypnotherapy, the British Medical Association, in 1955, approved the use of hypnosis in medical schools and post-graduate curricula. 

     In 1958, the American Medical Association followed suit and approved the instruction of hypnosis in medical schools and post-graduate curricula.
                                                                                                                                                          - "Modern Hypnosis: Theory and Practice"
                                                                                                                                                                 1982 and 1991 - Author:  Masud Ansari

     Much has been written since 1958 about the use of hypnosis in the psychology, psychiatry, and medical field, from the use of hypnotic anesthesia in surgery and childbirth to reducing anxiety in dentistry, and inducing relaxation for chiropractic and massage therapy.  Many health care professionals use hypnosis as an adjunct modality to enhance their efficacy in their field of expertise.

     Milton Erickson is called the father of modern-day hypnosis.  His techniques have been written about and widely used by medical professionals and hypnotherapists because of his unique approach to inducing hypnosis and invoking powerful results in clients with everything from breaking habits to severe impediments such as stuttering and alcoholism. 
                                                                                                                                            --  Dr. Patti Gallaway


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