1. Part : Ancient civilizations

Hypnosis has been known since ancient times, it was used by religious leaders, healers, healers and shamans. There are even opinions that once upon a time in prehistoric times, the first psychotherapeutic action actually began as Hypnotherapy, or the hypnotic action of witch doctors and shamans on other members of the community. We can probably agree that at the base of every hypnotherapy activity is hypnosis.


Although there are no written records or pictures from those times, based on the shamanistic activities of the still living Siberian and South American shamans, we can conclude that even in prehistoric times used hypnosis mainly for anesthetic purposes and to alleviate or eliminate pain.

SUMERCI, 4000 years BC n. no.

In the famous priest's school in Ereh, they still keep an ancient manuscript that contains irrefutable evidence that priest-doctors in those days treated patients in their sleep.

CHINA, 2500 BC n. no.

Wong Tai, the father of Chinese medicine, wrote about hypnotic procedures in his medical texts.

EGYPT, 4000 – 1550 BC n. no.

In the thousands of years old document in Egypt, the Ebers papyrus, methods for hypnosis are described, which are no different from today's. In one note we can read: "...put your hands on his to silence the pain and tell him that the pain will go away..."

INDIA, 1500 – 500 years BC n. no.

The Code of Manu, the oldest work written in Sanskrit in India, describes the waking dream. The Hindu Vedas, written around 1500 BC. they also describe trance and the use of hypnosis.

GREECE, 350 years BC n. no.

The ancient Greeks had their temples where priests treated people with the help of hypnosis. The custom in these temples was for people to fast before entering the temple and try to purify themselves as much as possible, thereby preparing themselves as much as possible for the suggestions given to them by the priests. Priests in the temples activated a person's inner powers with the help of suggestions, which led to healing.

2. Part : Recent history (from creepiness and magnetism to suggestion...)


Also Christian monks and nuns they cured patients with the help of suggestions. This skill fell into oblivion with the advent of the Inquisition, as anyone who mastered the skill was in danger of being burned at the stake. In the Middle Ages, hypnosis was not allowed in Europe by the Catholic Church, so it was more or less only used by stage hypnotists. It had an air of the occult (secret power).

Franz Anton Mesmer (1775) was the first to give a naturalistic explanation of hypnosis. He wanted to eliminate the touch of the occult and explained the trance. He used the theory of animal magnetism.

James Braid (1795-1860), was the next true pioneer, a Scottish surgeon who accidentally discovered his patient in the waiting room, in a deep state of trance, staring fixedly at an oil lamp. Initially skeptical, Braid began his scientific research into the Mesmer technique after witnessing a demonstration in Manchester in 1843 by the Swiss mesmerist La Fontaine. Braid found that the results were not caused by the magnetic fluid, but mainly by the suggestion acting on the subject, whose suggestibility was artificially elevated (increased). He found that he could command the patient to close his eyes and fall into a deep trance without all the preparation that Mesmer did.

Braid coined the term hypnosis from the Greek word "hypnos" meaning sleep. When he later discovered that hypnosis was not a sleep state, he tried to rename the state "monoideism", but it was too late. The term hypnosis has been accepted by a wider audience, including scientists.

James Esdaila, brought a lot of new things to the world of hypnosis. He was the chief surgeon in the prison in Calcutta (India), in the second half of the 19th century. It is worth imagining what the conditions were like in the prisons there at that time, the disastrous hygiene and living conditions. And yet then Esdail found out in the then poor conditions over 1000 surgical operations, with an extremely low mortality rate. He used it for anesthesia at the time exclusively hypnosis.

Sigmund Freud came to Paris in 1885 to study with Charcho and Liebeault. Archaeologist of the soul, great thinker and pioneer of psychoanalysis, he discovered the first seeds of his theory about the unconscious precisely with the help of hypnosis. Since at that time inductions (the process that brings a person into a hypnotic state) were very long, Freud could not move even deeper in his creative process. Despite his illness, which accompanied him, he felt that with the help of hypnosis it was possible to get even further in his research. His statement, which he made shortly before his death, is also interesting. He said this:  "If I had known as much about hypnosis in my past as I know today, I would have devoted myself more to hypnosis and less to psychoanalysis." In his first studies, he developed the concept of repression and the subconscious in hypnosis. He later abandoned hypnosis and developed a technique of free association and structure that he called psychoanalysis.

V World War I there was a chronic shortage of air on the front lines. Fortunately, there were also individuals in the front ranks who knew hypnosis and began to use it for anesthetization. After the First World War, they are important for research work Platonov and Pavlov. Pavlov claimed that hypnosis is a conditioned reflex. Big names after the Second World War are Hilgard and Orne, who researched mainly in the field of psychology and a great practitioner Milton Erikson.

The need for rapid treatment of war neuroses during the First and Second World Wars created a huge interest in hypnotherapy. There was a fusion of hypnotic techniques with psychiatry, which was a very important advance.

In the United States, hypnotherapy was accepted as a medical method of treatment in 1958. However, the British Medical Association had previously recognized hypnosis in psychiatry and surgery.

In modern times, the light of hypnosis and psychotherapy shone with a man who is said to be responsible for the accelerated development of psychotherapy, namely Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980). Erickson was a master of communication and a pioneer of family therapy and solution-focused brief therapy. He kept therapy short by concentrating on the person's personal resources and strengths at a time when the rest of the profession was obsessed with long-term therapy. Hypnosis was a fundamental part of his work, from which developed a new, indirect form of hypnosis, now known as "Erickson hypnosis", which dominates hypnotic therapy.

Hypnosis has proven to be a valuable tool in healing and psychotherapy. Despite the many obstacles it has faced, it is fully recognized and used by many scientists

Famous personalities, users of hypnosis: Goethe, Chopin, Thomas Edison. Nikola Tesla, Rachmaninoff. Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy, Kevin Costner

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