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. (These are results most of us can achieve by taking a warm bath). And as I explained on my first page, this is also the moment when the good doctor talked his clients through the therapy part of their session.
Around 75 years later, in the mid 1800's, another doctor, James Braid, used Dr 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 "let go" and relax both mind and body, all without the need for another person to do it for him.
You probably already know that a byproduct of being truly relaxed is feeling sleepy (like when you're taking that warm bath). Dr Braid, having a knowledge of Greek, named that sleepy feeling hypnosis because the word "hypno" is the Greek word for sleep, named after Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep and "sis" is the process of becoming sleepy. (Think of the word "mitosis" as the "process" of a cell dividing into two cells. "Mito" is the division and "sis" is the process).
Dr Braid explained to the general public that hypnosis is simply a process you go through every night at bedtime, which he can either talk you through, or you can talk yourself through, and that therapy is him telling you, or you telling yourself, to feel better once you are truly relaxed and "open minded."
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.
The naive people of that time connected a new 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 simply the process of letting go of distracting thoughts which in turn causes your body to also let go and relax. Period. Hypnosis has nothing to do with therapy nor in having people dance around like monkeys on a stage.
However, once you are truly relaxed, as I have explained on my first page, just before you actually fall asleep, you will be in twilight sleep which is when your subconscious mind becomes truly open-minded. This is where the word "hypnosis" ends and the words "the power of suggestion" begins.
When you are truly relaxed in both mind and body (hypnosis), you become open to the outside influences (the power of suggestion). A psychiatrist or a psychologist can use that moment to send you messages of feeling better. Your idiot friends can "suggest" you do something stupid with them. And if you were on a stage, then a hypnotist uses that moment to "suggest" you act funny.
That doesn't mean you're hypnotized to act funny. In fact, you're only hypnotized to relax. Period. It's just that you become more suggestible or persuadable when you are relaxed, but don't mix the two together.
Take, for example, television commercials. If you are relaxed in front of the television set and you're watching a commercial and you were open-minded about the products in the first place, then you may be more easily "persuaded" into buying their products. Again, that doesn't mean you were hypnotized into buying their products. You were persuaded by them "catching you while you were relaxed" then using "the power of persuasion."
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