Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is one of the oldest of all therapeutic techniques. From the Egyptian civilisation, through the history of Greece and of the Roman Empire, some form of hypnosis has been a present and intimate part of all cultures.
During the XVIII century, when it was believed that illnesses were caused by the magnetic influence of astral bodies, Franz Anton Mesmer induced his patients into a state similar to the hypnotic one, utilising what he believed to be “animal magnetism”. Even though Mesmerism was rapidly discredited, it continued to be used even after the Mesmer’s death, since it very often seemed to procure “miraculous” cures. When James Braid re examined Mesmerism in the XIX century he discovered that the power of simple suggestion was as effective as Mesmerism or any other methods for inducing modified states of consciousness. It was Braid who introduced the terminology “hypnosis” and, for some time, hypnosis became a psychological tool with scientific credibility.
In the beginning of the XX century, hypnosis was almost only exclusively used by stage hypnotists, projecting in this way a distorted vision of such powerful therapeutic tool. In 1955, the British Medical Association introduced hypnosis in the education of the Medical School. In recent years hypnosis has become a valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.