Hypnosis has been called the 2nd oldest profession. The term Hypnosis comes from the Greek ‘hypnos’ which means sleep because of the Trance State. However Hypnosis is not sleep because the subject stays alert, can talk and move, and the brain waves differ.
There may be mention of hypnosis in the Bible (Genesis 2:21, 1 Samuel 26:12, Job 4:13, 33:15, Acts 10:10), but its modern use dates from the Viennese doctor, Franz Anton Mesmer, in the late 1700s.
The oldest written record of cures by hypnosis was obtained from the Ebers Papyrus which gives us an idea about some of the theory and practice of Egyptian medicine before 1552 BC. In the Ebers Papyrus, a treatment was described in which the physician placed his hands on the head of the patient and, claiming superhuman therapeutic powers gave forth with strange remedial utterances which were suggested to the patients, and which resulted in cures. King Pyrrhus of Egypt, The Emperor Vespasian, Francis I of France and other French kings up to Charles X practiced healing in this manner.
Hippocrates, the Greek physician referred to most frequently as “the father of medicine” and whose oath all graduating physicians take, is known to have discussed the phenomenon saying, “the affliction suffered by the body, the soul sees quite well with the eyes shut.”
The Romans borrowed trance healing from the Greeks, as they did much else of the Greek culture during the period of the rise of the great Roman Empire. Many men of great learning and wisdom were imported from Greece as Roman slaves to teach the young in Roman households.
In the 1950s both the British and the American Medical Associations acknowledged the value of hypnosis as a tool for healing.
it is important to note that the term “hypnosis” only gained widespread use after James Braid coined the term “hypnotism” in 1841. Braid introduced the term to contrast his approach with those of the Mesmerists who preceded him.
Milton Erickson (1901-1980) developed many ideas and techniques in hypnosis that were very different from what was commonly practiced. His style, commonly referred to as Ericksonian Hypnosis, has greatly influenced many modern schools of hypnosis.
Dave Elman (1900-1967) helped to promote the medical use of hypnosis in the 1960s. Elman’s definition of hypnosis is still used today among some professional hypnotherapists. Although Elman had no medical training, he is known for having trained the most physicians and psychotherapists in America, in the use of hypnotism.
He is also known for introducing rapid inductions to the field of hypnotism. One method of induction which he introduced more than fifty years ago, is still one of the favored inductions used by many of today’s practitioners.
The 21st century thirst by clients, insurance companies and psychotherapists for short-term, cost-effective methods makes hypnotherapy an attractive alternative.