Origins of Hypnotherapy

While a case could be made for the origins of hypnotherapy arising from the sleep temples of the Babylonians or some of the healing practices of the ancient Greeks, there is no question but that the rise of modern hypnotherapy began with Franz Anton Mesmer.

Back in the 18th century, Mesmer developed a theory of magnetism based on a belief that there was a power inherent in magnets that could help to cure his patients. Eventually, Mesmer and his theory of magnetism (or mesmerism) were discredited by the scientific community.

Back in 1841 Dr. James Braid coined the term hypnosis from the Latin word Hypnos--the Greek god of sleep. Dr. Braid, who worked at the School of the Salpetriere in Paris, discovered a fixed gaze technique which allowed him to induce a sleeplike, hypnotic state.

Many more would follow, people like Professor James Charcot and Dr. James Esdaile. Then in the twentieth century, Milton Erickson, often referred to as the father of modern hypnosis, began to use hypnosis in his psychiatric practice, and hypnotherapy became a legitimate therapeutic technique. And in 1958, hypnosis gained sanction from the medical community when the American Medical Association accepted hypnosis as a legitimate form of treatment.

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