"There is a point in the personal history of any individual
when change is necessary to rise to the next level of performance."
Gil Boyne, Exec Dir, ACHE
Since our most distant beginnings, we have been searching for ways to improve our daily lives: our physical well being, our varied personal relationships, our access to abundance, our self-esteem. Because of the urge to control these basic human conditions and our innate desire for greater spiritual enlightenment, we have become increasingly aware of the powerful connection between thoughts and results (also known as the Body/Mind connection). Throughout history, cultures around the globe have used hypnosis and the trance-state to access the extraordinary power within each of us. It is an awesome power that can heal our minds, our bodies and our spirits.
From Ancient Egypt, around 3000 BC, there are glyphs in the stone showing hypnosis sessions. Within these Sleep Temples of Egypt priests used trance states to offer healing suggestions to patients. The Ancient Greeks had their Shrines of Healing in which priests and priestesses invoked the God of Sleep, 'Hypnos', to intercede on patients behalf while in a hypnotic sleep. In 1600 BC, Wong Tai, father of Chinese medicine, wrote about techniques using incantations and passing hands (these techniques are still used in the induction of trance). The Hindu Vedas, written circa 1500 BC, mention hypnotic procedures. Some believe the mention of hypnosis appears in the Bible (Genesis 2:21, 1 Samuel 26:12, Job 4:13, 33:15, Acts 10:10). Using the power of suggestion in conjunction with the sub-conscious mind has continued to persist in a wide variety of cultures by shamans, witch doctors, and generation upon generation of 'medicine men'! How it was used typically morphed to match the popular mind and the powers of the day.
During the mid-eleventh century reign of King Edward (the Confessor), the monarch would touch or pass his hands over his ailing subjects. The loyal (and believing) subjects enjoyed the event and many experienced healings. Through the Middle Ages the use of hypnosis drifted into the realm of Merlin and other such wizards and conjurers. Paracelsus, the famous physician living in Switzerland and Austria during the early 1500's, was the first to mention the link between the unconscious and a physical ailment. In one of his writings he says, "... the cause of the disease chorea lasciva (a form of St. Vitus Dance) is a mere opinion and idea, assumed by the imagination, affecting those who believe in such a thing". He was not popular with the local academic community and often alienated the establishment with his views.
The history of modern hypnosis begins with Franz Anton Mezmer, a physician living in Vienna during the mid 1700s. The term "mesmerism" is coined after him. Because of his flamboyant ways he has always been considered a charlatan.
*** More history as time permits ... thanks.