The History of Hypnosis

If you look back in history, you will find that hypnosis has in fact been around for thousands of years. Obviously the techniques of Hypnotherapy have changed and developed over time as well as the reasons for performing and experiencing hypnosis, however the fact remains that Hypnotherapy has been around longer than we think. The term hypnosis originates from the Greek word ‎'ypons' which means sleep because of the trance like state. This understanding of Hypnosis is slightly misleading as we have already established, as Hypnotherapy is not about sleep because the subject is very much alert, both in talking and movement. Identifying exactly when Hypnotherapy was first introduced into civilization is hard to say. Many believe hypnosis was used as far back as Egyptian times in their dream temples. Hieroglyphics have been translated to reveal an induction of the trance like state. This would suggest hypnosis was used as far back as then. Hypnosis has even been found to exist within the animal kingdom. In hibernating, animals go into hiding and exist for substantial periods of time. The animals have been described as 'turning inwards' in order to survive the long months in hibernation. The reasons for civilizations using hypnosis back in ancient times were obviously very different from our modern day reasons. People back then did not need hypnotherapy to help quit smoking or achieve weight loss. Phobias such as fears of flying, heights and claustrophobia were not issues they needed to address. However they did use hypnotherapy to cleanse the mind in religious and healing ceremonies. By the study of these religious and healing ceremonies by primitive people in Africa, Australia and elsewhere, we can identify that the rhythmic chanting, monotonous drum beats and exaggerated body movement have a direct link to hypnotherapy. The trance like state that is repeatedly mentioned when discussing hypnosis could well have been what African and Australian civilizations were experiencing all those many years ago. In actual fact, this trance like behavior surrounded by monotonous chanting and drum beats can still be found today in certain primitive communities around the world. The term hypnosis was not a known and used word until the term was coined by the respected physician James Braid (1889).