Beginning of Hypnosis

In the mid 1700's, a doctor named Franz Mesmer, amid a number of healing experiments, ended up performing holistic healing on his patients whereby he would waive his hands just above the body in an attempt to psychically realign invisible energies. Other doctors found no evidence in what he "did" as being effective but in what he "said" as being very effective.

He told them to imagine the process of going to sleep at night, which was to close their eyes, breathe deeply, clear their mind of all distracting thoughts and to focus only on the sound of his voice. His patients claimed they were mesmerized by the soothing sound of his voice, a word they named after the good doctor which  meant that his voice put them into a very relaxed and daydreaming state of mind.

Once Dr Mesmer's clients were relaxed, he would then give them "suggestions" as to the steps necessary for them to change the way they "perceived" that which ailed them. Cures were brought about by first, their trust in the doctor, second, their belief that they would be cured and third, by visualizing that which ailed them as being cured, all on the premise that the mind controls the body.

Around 75 years later, in the mid 1800's, another doctor, James Braid, used Doctor Mesmers' techniques on himself in order to relax and then to also change the way he "perceived" that which ailed him, all without the need for another person to talk him through it. (This eventually became known as self-hypnosis).

Having a knowledge of Greek, he mistakenly combined both the relaxation technique and then the ability to visualize himself feeling healthier into one process and called it hypnosis when he should have explained that hypnosis, the ability to relax to the point of feeling sleepy, and visualization, the ability to use your creative imagination, although they work synergistically with each other, are two completely separate processes.

Not long after, in 1894 a book was published called Trilby and in 1915 the movie Trilby was produced, both depicting a Svengali taking over a woman's mind causing her to shed her inhibitions and become a famous singer and when he died she could no longer sing. The movie called this ability to control her mind as in being hypnotized. And therein lies the rub.

Thanks to the movie industry and the thousands of movies that followed, there will always be people who feel the word hypnosis is mind control, against their religion and is used only on the weak minded. 

Today, if you were to ask anyone where they got the idea that hypnosis was mind control, every single person will tell you it was because of what they saw in the movies. 

So once again, hypnosis is the ability to relax to the point of feeling sleepy, visualization is the ability to use your creative imagination in order to imagine that which ails you in being healed and the power of persuasion, the ability to get people to do something, can all work either independently or synergistically with each other, and therefore should not be considered as one.

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