It all started with ‘animal magnetism’ which according to Franz Mesmer, an Austrian physician, was the transfer of energy between himself and his patients which immediately put them into a trance-like state.
At least that is what most people believe. Before I go into animal magnetism it should be noted that hypnosis dates back many thousands of years. It can be traced back to ancient Greece, ancient Egypt and even Babylonia.
Now back to Mesmer and his animal magnetism.
The use of animal magnetism caused a lot of questions. The use of a magnetic force to create healings and trance states was widely accepted by the ordinary people of the time but the medical establishment was very dubious.
Originally, hypnosis was called ‘Mesmerism’ after Franz Mesmer. The word mesmerized was used to refer to a trance-like state. Obviously this tern has now been replaced by the term ‘Hypnotized’.
It was prominent scientific minds of the time that determined Mesmer’s high success rate at healing had, in fact, nothing to do with animal magnetism but was instead a form of autosuggestion – where the patient believed what Mesmer and his staff where telling them and so effected the healing themselves through the power of their own minds.
Thus ‘hypnosis’ was identified as a very powerful healing tool even back before term ‘hypnosis’ was coined by the Scottish doctor named James Braid.
Psychiatrists characterize hypnosis as a state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination and focus. Although Braid used the word ‘hypnosis’ to describe this state (taken from the Greek God Hypnos – God of sleep) it’s not really like sleep at all.
During a hypnotic trance the vast majority of people, 95% of the population, are fully alert the whole time. In fact there senses are heightened and they are more aware of sounds, smells and sensations from their surroundings yet remain unaffected by them!
A more accurate metaphor for the hypnosis state would be daydreaming. Your consciousness is aware of everything you just tune out most of it and become engrossed in what is happening in your mind instead. The focus you have is very intent on the subject at hand to the exclusion of almost everything else.
You may not be aware of the fact that you have experienced the hypnotic state many times in your life. In fact you experience several times every day. Experts point out some that there are everyday circumstances when trance states occur like when you are watching movies, driving, reading and daydreaming etc.
Milton Erickson, the most famous of all proponents of hypnosis stated that, “people hypnotize themselves on a daily basis”! During these trance states you are very susceptible to suggestions given to you while being totally unaware of what is occurring.
The good news is though that you can focus on the trance state deliberately which is brought about by intentional relaxation and focusing exercises and use it to reprogram your own mind.
Hypnosis can be extremely useful for personal growth and goal-attainment. By using pre-made self hypnosis recordings it is possible to achieve almost anything. The possibilities are almost limitless!