Daniel Olson, hypnotist, author, trainer, consultant Open yourself to personal development and growth as you change and trance-form your life. Trance-form yourself.

The History Of Hypnosis

Group Hypnosis began with ancient civilizations. Many group rituals, such as mass chanting and meditation to a steady drum beat were parts of religious ceremonies. There was healing of the mind before any medical practice.

The term Hypnosis comes from the Greek 'ypnos' 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.

The first type of hypnosis to be accepted and experimented with was animal hypnosis. In the 1600's, people calmed chickens hypnotically by various means, such as balancing wood shavings on their beaks or tying their heads to the ground and drawing a line with chalk in front of their beaks. In France, farmers learned to hypnotize hens to sit on eggs not their own. In the mid 1800's in Germany, traveling shows went from town to town with birds, rabbits, frogs, salamanders and others. In Manchester, a famed event was LaFountaine hypnotizing a lion. In the late 1800's, Hungarian hypnotist, Volgyesi hypnotized all the animals at the Budapest zoo. Scientists and biologists such as Preyer, Verworn and Emile Mesmet studied animal reflexes (like paralysis from fear) that might cause such phenomena.

B. Danilewsky (from the famed Salpetriere) experimented with animal hypnosis and studied its physiological workings in animals. In 1904, after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Ivan Petrovitch Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, found that dogs, if given a signal before food, would, after a time, salivate when given the signal without food. This was related to the conditioning of human behavior. Because much experience pertained to conditioning and reconditioning reflexes and patterns of behavior, Pavlov became interested in hypnosis, which he thought induced states similar to his experiments.

Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer started the concept of magnetism, a theory of a universal fluid present in everything with uniform characteristic at all levels of creation with m magnetic vibrations. He cured a young girl of convulsions by placing magnets on her thighs and stomach. Then began relying on the laying on of his hands to use his own fluid in healing. He turned his home in Vienna into a clinic. His reputation increased; the fashionable set of Swabia and Switzerland consulted him. After curing the director of the Munich Academy of Sciences, he was unanimously elected a member of the Bavarian Academy.

He restored the sight of a young famous, female musician, Mille Paradies, who had gone blind at age 4 when she heard a noise at her bedroom door. When her parents came to take her home, she didn't want to leave. Her mother slapped her, Mesmer intervened, so her father drew a sword. Mesmer did likewise and forced him back.

The mother fainted and the girl (who had gone blind again) remained with Mesmer. This caused a tremendous scandal.

So in 1778 he went to Paris. The king arranged for French Academy of Sciences members to witness Mesmer's experiments. They said cures were due to imagination and therefore not valid. They said medicine already had many cures for the diseases magnetism cured.

Mesmer would treat 30 patients in a vat filled with two or three layers of bottles of magnetized water at the bottom. The neck of each bottle pointed to the center and bent iron rods were inserted into perforations in the lid covering the entire container so that they could be applied to the affected body par. A rope was used for this also. Patients were placed face to face whenever possible, as close as possible to each other touching thighs, knees and feet as much as possible so that the magnetic fluid could continually circulate. Singing and harmonicas accompanied this. Often patients would cough, spit, feel heat or pain, or be rocked by convulsions lasting five hours (these were carried into adjoining room padded on all sides). Mesmer wore a lilac silk coat and carried a long iron wand with which he would touch the patient's bodies. He also magnetized then with his eyes, the laying on of his hands, or putting his fingers into a pyramid shape passing his hands, lightly all over patient's body beginning with the head. He would continue this until the patient was saturated with healing fluid and swooned from pain or pleasure.

Mesmer published a treatise in 1779 trying to impress the Academy doctors. He became such a success with his patients he had to take on assistant magnetizers. He opened a clinic at Creteil, then bought Hotel Bullion to set up four tubs. He also magnetized a tree at the end of the street rue Bondy. Thousands attached themselves to it with a rope attempting cures. Mesmer cured many learned people who published accounts of their cures. He became wealthy and lived elegantly. He demands a castle and got it.

However he never got the sanction of the medical body. The Faculty of Medicine ordered Dr. Charles Desion to renounce magnetism or be struck from the roll of doctors. Deslon asked the king to appoint a commission to rule on the effectiveness of magnetism. Two commissions concluded an unqualified condemnation of magnetism.

Because of this, and a failure with Prince Henry of Prussia Mesmer doubted whether he still had his magnetic power. He retreated to live in the forest by a lake. He was imprisoned in Vienna for some political comments. In 1802, France granted him a pension. The King of Prussia invited him to teach animal magnetism in Berlin, but he declined. He stayed in France, caring for the poor, until his death in 1815. Although magnetism was condemned by the medical body. It continued to flourish with research, studies and demonstration. Three brothers, disciples of Mesmer's secret society.

The Society of Harony' (a philanthropic organization), practiced magnetism. One of them organized a tub and offered 600 pounds to anyone who could prove cures were not genuine. One patient, Victor, would fall into a trance and speak with incredible ease and diagnostic accuracy about the course of his own and others; illnesses, could read thoughts and carry out orders easily. He could not remember anything when awakened from trance. This was defined as (magnetic) somnambulism.

In 1825, Dr. P. Foissac invited the Academy of Medicine to examine his somnambulists whom he declared capable of diagnosing diseases, with inspiration bordering on the genius of Hypocrites. Conclusions of Academy, effects of magnetism were due to boredom, monotony and imagination (except for second sight), but occasionally magnetism alone produced results.

In 1837, Dr. Bema proposed to demonstrate to the Academy magnetized clairvoyance. His claims were rejected and magnetism denied. The Academy offered 3000 francs to anyone who could read in the dark without using his eyes. No one could. Berna proposed to an Englishman, dr. John Elliatson, chairman of the Royal Medical and Surgery Society, teacher at the University of London, and one of the founders of its hospital, studied magnetism's surgical use and its action on the nervous system. He performed major surgical operations with patients under hypnosis including amputations of limbs. The University forbade this, so he resigned. Public opinion, his results, and many doctors were behind him, however, and in 1846 he started a "mesmeric Hospital." Other mesmeric hospitals were then founded. (Many years later, he suddenly declared the hypnotic techniques could no longer alleviate pain.)

In 1845, a Scottish doctor, James Esdale, opened a hospital in Calcutta and began a famous serious of operations with no pain and almost no deaths. His practice was made up of rajahs with 100 prominent witnesses. In India, so many had been afraid of operations, they had lived with tumors sometimes as large as their bodies (up to 80 pounds). By the time he left, he had performed over 2000 operations.

In 1841, a Swiss named LaFontaine gave three performances of magnetizing a lion at the London zoo. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon, was present and convinced it was all a hoax. But he became curious why one subject couldn't open his eyes and conducted experiments with his wife and a servant. Decided a fixed gaze paralyzed nerve centers and destroyed the balance of the nervous system. Two years later, he published his theories call 'hypnotism' for the first time in modern conception. Hypnotism was no longer associated with magnetism and a universal fluid. Four years later, Braid regretted his choice of the work, for those who slept were in minority and those who were influenced were concentrating their thoughts. He had excellent results and published a book called"Neurhypnology" on his theory called Braidism.In 1866, Ambrose-Auguste Liebeault became a psychologist treating mainly the poor with no diagnosis or examination.

He suggested in a monotonous but penetrating a tone they feel better with suggestions regarding health, digestion, circulation, coughing, etc. He had 100's of cures. A professor from the University of Nancy, Hippolyte Bernheim arrived to expose him and instead was convinced. Together, they founded what is known as the Nancy school.

Prior to Freud, suggestion was the only known method of psychotherapy. This was used extensively with good results. Bernhei joined Liebeault and they conducted a clinic together. In 20 years, they treated over 30,000 patients together with suggestions under hypnosis. They had such amazing success that doctors from all over Europe came to study under them, including Freud.

Bernheim wrote a book on hypnosis 'De la Suggestion,"which Freud translated trying to find a physiological explanation of suggestion in the nervous system.

At the Salpetriere in Paris, many doctors originated numerous theories of hypnosis from ischemia being the cause of hypnosis and post-hypnotic amnesia which might cause permanent brain lesions (Neynert) to being a type of sleep (August Forel). In general, it was agreed that hypnosis inhibited certain cortical activity in the brain allowing suggestions to be ore readily accepted. Jean-Martin Charcot, head of the Salpetriere, believed it was an alternate state of consciousness.

Whereas the Nancy school was based on psychology and verbal suggestion using light hypnosis with no amnesia effect the Chariot School studied physiology, reflexes and physical means to affect these, like deep hypnosis with amnesia, magnets or metal plates (effects discovered in 1876 by Dr. Burcq). Transference (one patient's ailments passing to another) was discovered. This was perfected by a neurologist, J.F.F. Babinski. He became head of the clinic when Charcot died. Babinski changed his mind about the physical effects of hypnosis and accepted the theory of suggestibility. He tried to prove Hysteria was the diseased manifestation of hypnosis. Soon, hypnosis was associated with neuroses and weakness; no one wanted to be hypnotizable. Hypnosis sank into obscurity, except for Dr. Pierre Janet, head of the pathological psychology laboratory, who still believed in hypnosis. Christian Science (a religion that teaches that diseases can be cured by spiritual means) and psychoanalysis swept the U.S. and Europe, replacing hypnosis.

In 1880, the daughter (known in case histories as Anna O) a patient of Dr. Joseph Brier (A Viennese internist and Freud's collaborator) developed hysterical symptoms. She would go into spontaneous hypnosis and tell Brier childlike stories, sleep and awake refreshed. If he did not come one day, she would worsen until she told him two stories the next day. After her father's death, she began to include memories from the early months of nursing her father where he symptoms began. Each time she did, the symptoms gradually disappeared until she was cured. The emotional ordeal Breuer was put through caused him to refer all patients of this type to Freud. Freud continued to use this method.

Freud's theories at this point were as follows: People normally have doubts and misgivings, which they succeed in controlling. The physical exhaustion caused by nursing an ill person might predispose on to psychic states thereby causing loss of control. He thought the failure to react to a trauma caused suppression, which caused problems. When he insisted that patients "remember", they would often do so, but he found much resistance and came up with the theory of defense. This was also applied to sexual life-the effect of pushing away sexual feelings could transfer to another object causing obsessions hysteria, etc.

Freud and Breuer thought discharge of intense feelings of traumatic events was a purge for the patient. Sharing the emotional experience often produced a speedy curative effect.

Freud found that many hysterics had had infantile sexual traumas such as seductions, assaults, etc. However in 1885, he started having doubts and finally gave up this train of ideas. He did so because he was not able to hypnotize many people, and found much resistance; he doubted whether his treatments could overcome the ego's resistance and supply the real answer or he would have had more satisfactory conclusions. He found out that many of the incidents people had supplied when he insisted they remember were not accurate. He underwent self-analysis and then went into different areas of psychology-free association and dream interpretation.

In the 1920's, Emil Coue, originally a pharmacist, made a study of the psychology of suggestion and operated a clinic in Nancy, France. His successes helped to make autosuggestion for self-benefit the vogue in Europe. He made an exhaustive study of the effects of suggestion. At first, he supplied intensive details with he suggestions, but later switched to generalizations in order to allow the subconscious to work out its own best solution and include all that the person might be aiming at. His most famous techniques are: 1) repeating every day again and again, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better" 2) if someone thinks that they want to do something, but they can't the harder they try, the less they will be able to (i.e., always thing positive); 3) "when the imagination and the will are in conflict, the imagination always wins" (used as a theory of why hypnosis worked); and 4) an idea always tends towards realization and a stronger emotion

always counteracts a weaker one. Many others in Europe (but not in US) worked with suggestive techniques. Coue was an amazing success. Coue is considered the initiator of T. H. Schultz's autogenic training, which is derived from hypnosis. This is a method of physical conditioning to produce psychobiological alteration in the subject with no psychological techniques used. The patient obtains control over the voluntary muscles (with which he is most familiar), and then the circulatory system, heart, respiration, organs and head. The hypnotist is not needed and results can be measured.

In the 1930's in the US, psychosomatic medicine (concerned with the numerous diseases cured by suggestion. These included: hemiplegia, multiple sclerosis, cerebrospinal sclerosis, lead poisoning, hysterical disorders, neuropath disorders, neuroses, pares and pareses and contractures, gastrointestinal disorders, various pains, rheumatic diseases, neuralgia, menstrual disorders, anemia, intermittent fever, tuberculosis, tremors, and spasms, involuntary quivering of eyelids, chronic torticollis, amaurosis, mutism, constipation or dyspepsia, Chorea, stammering, moistness of hands, neurasthenia, obsessions, consumption, influenza, asthma or nervous origin, mental imbalances, phobias, obsessions, tics, psychosexual anomalies, morbidtendencies, functional language
Disorders, and functional language disorders, and organic diseases.

During wartime, hypnosis was used to put soldiers back into action. Hypnosis reduced the stress and the soldier was able to overcome environmental pressure (such as in the case of Anna O). Although hypnosis was not an accepted practice, there were so many soldiers with illnesses caused by wartime trauma that many psychiatrists used the same technique as Breuer, a reliving of the emotional stressful war situation, to cure the patient quickly. This worked well, and hypnosis gained some respectability.

Hypondotia (hypnotism in dentistry) was begun in 1948 and has become wide spread. The American Society of Psychosomatic dentistry (an association of ethical dentists who are trained and certified to apply hypnotic techniques) has been established.

Surgeons had tried everything on a 15-year-old boy who had ichthyosis ("fish skin" disease). In 1951, after hypnotherapy with Dr. A.A. Mason, the boy's arm was cured in ten days. In slightly more than a month, the rest of his body was healed. Because this was a reversal of the natural course of a congenital disease, this incident helped in Great Britain's official recognition of hypnosis in 1955 as an example of psychosomatic medicine.

Dr. Mason also wrote of a girl who, because of chemical anesthesia for breast surgery, stayed in the hospital for a month after surgery with postoperative deliriums, continuous vomiting and excessive bleeding. She needed a second operation. As a hypnotic test, she had a tooth extracted while in a trance with no pain) when he accidentally got alcohol in her eye thus enabling the nurse to wipe the alcohol out of her eye. Dr. Mason indicated how many surgical accidents could be avoided this way, especially in preserving the coughing reflex, since blood, saliva, or vomit entering the respiratory tract causes most deaths under anesthesia.

In 1958, the American Medical Association approved a report on the medical uses of hypnosis. It encouraged research on hypnosis although pointing out that some aspects of hypnosis are unknown and controversial.

The British Medical Association expressed a similar opinion shortly thereafter. Later, the Italian Medical Association for the Study of Hypnosis was founded.

Hypnosis is used in law and the FBI to aid memory and rehabilitate criminals. The most famous example is the Chowchilla, California kidnapping case. Under Hypnotic induction, a school bus driver recalled a license number that led the police to the abductors of a school bus full of children. Hypnosis was also used as psychotherapy for some of the children who had been greatly disturbed. Some police departments have appointed their own official hypnotists. The NYC police hypnotist has won national acclaim in solving difficult criminal cases. Today hospitals, psychiatric clinics, jails, courtrooms, sports, schools, even churches and synagogues use hypnosis.

Until his death in 1980 Milton H. Erickson, almost single-handedly took hypnosis off the stage and into respected medical practice. Erickson, a noted psychiatrist, who studied with some of the most influential hypnotists of modern times, including Clark Hull, among others. A contemporary of Andre Weitzenhoffer, a partner in training with Leslie Lechron (who is given credit for ideomotor signals).

From Erickson came two gentlemen by the names of Richard Bandler and John Grinder who formally modeled Ericksons genius in hypnosis on the advice of Gregory Bateson (one of the geniuses of the 20th century). This came to be known as Neuro-Linguistic- Programming, NLP. The purpose of this discipline is to model people of true genius, from hypnosis to business to psychotherapy and even to pistol shooting in the military.

Since its beginning in the early 1970's it has grown into a popular and useful addition to
our knowledge of hypnosis. One of the most important developments from NLP is the notion that you can use words to induce a hypnotic trance, and even more importantly produce change. What came to be known as the Milton Model, Bandler and Grinder modeled Erickson's ability to produce covert trance with just words. These two very capable gentlemen proved that trance didn't have to be direct, as in the stage hypnotist approach, to be useful and functional.

In the 1990's, hypnosis has come full circle, it has been talked about on radio, shown on most national TV talk shows, from Oprah to Donohue, and been written up in major magazines, from Cosmopolitan to Success Magazine. Most everybody has a friend or a family member who has gone to a hypnotist for something. Even medical doctors are sending their patients to a hypnotist for habit control - stop smoking, weight control, stress reduction, as a first choice. This was unheard of 20 years ago, as doctors only referred to a hypnotist as a last resort. As hypnosis becomes more and more popular, whether or not it becomes main stream, only time will tell.

Copyright 1995, Daniel Olson

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©2001 Daniel Olson

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Enjoy a FREE 10 Minute Trance Experience

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About our Subliminal and Hypnosis Tapes & CDs

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