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What Is Hypnosis?

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"What is Hypnosis?" Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in Hypnotherapy. Caroline Aby

History of Hypnosis

Hypnosis has been used for thousands of years, in various different forms, more notably group rituals, such as mass chanting and meditation, which normally start with the rhythmic beating of a drum, which would continue until the ritual had all involved in a trance like state, then the suggestion that healing powers had been performed where planted in the minds of those involved. This is still practised today by Australian Aborigines and by Shamen in Indian and South American cultures.

The first record records of recorded use of Hypnosis was Franz Anton Mesmer (1733 to1815), who lived in Austria, who believed in the healing powers of the Shamen and "incorporated this theory into the theory of "animal magnetism". Mesmer believed that a cosmic fluid could be stored in inanimate objects, ie magnets and then transferred to patients to cure themselves" Hpnosis for change Josie Hadley and Carol Staudacher . It is believed that the word mesmorised was taken from this healing process.

Mesmer was a flamboyant man, and used dim lighting, music and mirrors in his clinics, with patients sitting around a large vat, holding on to iron rods taken from the vat, which were believed to transmit the healing force.

Mesmer had tremendous rates of success , with thousands of sick and hopeful people attending his clinics , one particular success story was a 29 year old woman who suffered from a nervous disorder, her symptoms included blood rushing to head, with a tremendous pain in her ears and head, this was followed by anger, delusion, sickness and fainting. During the treatment Mesmour applied magnets on the patient's stomach and legs, and encouraged the patient to concentrate on the effects of his healing process, the patient's symptoms subsided.

One of Mesmers protégés the marquis du Puyseguer took this theory on step further believing that plants to had a magnetic healing power, in his clinics Puyseguer 's patients sat in circle under a elm tree in the village green , with the diseased parts of their bodies wrapped in cords which were hung from the elm tree, the patients then touched their thumbs together, so that everyone and the elm tree where connected. Which Puyseguer believed that the healing fluid would pass from the healing powers of the elm tree to the patients and would heal.

During this process Puyseguer noted that some of his patients fell into a deep sleep as result of being Mesmerized, patients were responsive to the suggestion that they would feel better. Although he had not identified this Puyseguer had discovered hypnotic trance.

Hypnotic trance or mesmerism was used later in the 1800 to relieve pain, notably by a London Physician called John Elliotson (1791 to 1868) who used Hypnotic trance in over 1000 surgical operations, which were preformed painlessly and without the use of anathesitic . A Scottish surgeon James Esdaile (1808 to 1859) used this method in surgery in India , including amputations, where the suggestion was given to patients that they would feel no pain in the area were the amputation would take place.

James Braid a English physician (1795-1860) gave mesmerism a scientific explanation, he used the word hypnosis taken from the Greek word hynpos to sleep, Braid showed that hypnotised patients were open to the suggestions made to them when in hypnotic trance.

What is Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a special psychological state with certain psychological attributes resembling sleep only superficially though. However the individual may have a higher level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. People under hypnosis are said to have highlighted focus and concentration with the ability to concentrate intensely on a specific thought or memory or suggestions while blocking out other sources of distraction. This is called hypnotic induction which involves a series of preliminary suggestions given by the therapist, in which the individual's concentration is enhanced and increases the individual's responsiveness

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