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A Brief History of Hypnosis.
Hypnosis has been around since the dawn of recorded time and there is evidence of its use by the ancient Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians. The use of chants, drumming, and monotonous dancing rituals to change or alter consciousness fall under the definition of hypnosis. Such methods have been used successfully by the Druids, Vikings, Indian Yogis, Dervishes, Hindu priests, and holy men of all religions and denominations for centuries. In 2600 B.C., the father of Chinese medicine, Wong Tai, wrote about techniques that involved incantations and passing of the hands. Accounts of what we would now call hypnosis can also be found in the Bible, the Talmud, and the Hindu Vedas written about 1500 B.C.
The more modern version of hypnosis, however, derives from Anton Mesmer's theories of animal magnetism conceived in the 18th century. Mesmer and his followers claimed that a fluid or force radiated from the magnetiser to the subject but this view was disputed by Alexandre Bertrand, a young 19th century French physician. He believed that the cures resulting from treatment in trance states derived from the suggestions of the practitioner acting on the imagination of the patient whose suggestibility had been increased. Dr. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon, arrived independently at the same conclusion as Bertrand and it was he who coined the term hypnotism for the combined state of relaxation and enhanced awareness from the Greek word for sleep, (hypnos).