History of Hypnosis


French Count Frederick Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) presented his theory that magnetic fluids were responsible for disease and healing influences in the body. He used magnets to heal people, and later found that the magnetic "fluid" had entered his hands, so that when he passed his hands over their bodies, they were healed. Documented cases of physical and mental healings were reported to King Louis XVI, who formed a committee to study MESMERISM and MAGNETISM. Benjamin Franklin, Ambassador from the United States, served on the committee that reported that it was all done through the power of suggestion, and that magnets had no effect.


The Marquis de Puységur, one of Mesmer's students, used "magnetic somnambulism" - magnetic sleepwalking - as a clinical technique. He produced what he called "clairvoyance" - clear seeing. This linked mesmerism with the psychic world.


First reports of painless dentistry and surgery in France using magnetism by Ambrose Liebeault (1823-1904), J.M. Charcot (1825-1893) and Charles Richet (1850-1935). The School at Nancy (France) was created to study hypnotism and psychology.


John Elliotson (1791-1868), President of the Royal Medical and Surgical Society of London, reported using hypnosis as anesthesia in 1,834 surgical operations.


James Braid (1795-1860), London eye doctor, renamed mesmerism/magnetism as HYPNOSIS, after the Greek god of sleep, hypnus.


James Esdaile (1808-1859), British surgeon in India, reported performing 2,000 operations - 300 of them major - using hypnosis as anesthesia.


Sigmund Freud became a practicioner of the Nancy technique for several years, and then discarded it in favor of his system of psychoanalysis.


The British Medical Association reported favorably on the use of hypnosis in the field of medicine.


Use of hypnosis in dentistry developed in the United States.


The British Medical Association and the American Medical Association issue statements supporting the usefulness of hypnosis as a form of therapy.


A brain operation was performed under hypnosis in Indianapolis.


Milton Erickson, M.D. (1901-1980), was recognized as the leading authority on clinical hypnosis. Many books have been written on his techniques, which included the use of therapeutic metaphor - stories.

Famous Users of Hypnosis

poet Tennyson, composer Mozart, composer Rachmaninov, writer Geothe, pianist Chopin, inventor Thomas Edison, inventor Nikola Tesla, manufacturer Henry Ford, physicist Albert Einstein, novelist Aldous Huxley, prime minister Winston Churchill, psychologist Carl Jung, psychologist Sigmund Freud, first lady Jackie Kennedy, actor Kevin Costner - and many more.