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 extremely effective.
He told them to close their eyes, breathe deeply and to clear their mind of all distracting thoughts by focusing only on the sound of his voice. He would then tell them to imagine, to clearly picture the affected area of their body healing itself. Together, along with their trust in the doctor and their belief that they would leave his office cured, this brought about many cures.
His patients often said they were MESMERIZED by the soothing sound of his voice, a word they named after the good doctor, explaining also that the more they focused on his soothing voice, the more they were able to "let go" of all those distracting thoughts in their head which, in turn, caused all the muscles in their body to also "let go" and relax.
Around 75 years later, in the mid 1800's, another doctor, James Braid, used Doctor Mesmer's techniques on himself many times in order to heal himself of various illnesses. This was the next great step in the evolution of Dr Mesmer's techniques because Dr Braid was able to narrow his focus, which caused him to also "let go" of distracting thoughts, which in turn also caused his body to relax, all without the need for another person to do it for him. Feeling sleepy while learning to relax, and having a knowledge of Greek, he named that sleepy feeling hypnosis because the word hypnos is the Greek word for sleep, named after Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep.
Rather than explain to the public that the word hypnosis simply meant that you were feeling sleepy when your body was truly relaxed, he instead told them that hypnosis was "an entire process," a series of techniques that he, as a guide, could talk them through, which is the process of focusing, relaxing and being healed. And that self hypnosis was when they performed the same focusing, relaxing and healing techniques on themselves.
Not long after, in 1894 a book was published called Trilby and in 1915 the movie Trilby was produced, both depicting a Svengali "doing all the work," 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.
The superstitious people of that time connected a new popular word they misinterpreted with mind control and the public ran with it.
And that vision still exists today. 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.
Once again, hypnosis is that "sleepy" feeling you feel once your body and mind "lets go" and truly relaxes. The actual steps in healing yourself are what you do to yourself once you are truly relaxed, or they're what a "guide" can talk you through while you're relaxed.
The more relaxed you are, the more effective therapy is, which is why "guides" such as psychiatrists, psychologists and even hypnotists continually tell you to relax more and more.
"Change the picture and you'll change your reality." Having a psychiatrist, psychologist or a hypnotist talk you through a healing process or in overcoming an addiction lies in "changing the picture in your mind that you believe to be real." A child believes that if she skins her knee and mommy kisses it, that the pain go away. If the picture in that child's mind clearly shows the pain going away, then the pain will go away. Some chain smokers suddenly quit all by themselves with no withdrawal pains because they created a picture in their mind of them as a non-smoker.
But there's more to it than just that. The pictures of fear, anxiety, nightmares, PTSD and the like need to be completely removed from your subconscious mind all together and more importantly, those pictures need to be replaced with pictures of health, happiness and the like. You cannot take something away from the subconscious mind without replacing it with something else, something more positively powerful. And this is the magic and power of hypnosis.
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