Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is the oldest of all healing techniques. From the Sleep Temples of Egypt through the histories of ancient Greece and Rome some form of hypnosis has always been an intimate part of all cultures.
In the Middle Ages, healing through touch and prayer became the major way of treating disease. In the 18th Century – when it was believed that illness was caused by the magnetic influence of astral bodies – Franz Anton Mesmer would induce people into a trance like state by what he (erroneously) believed to be Animal Magnetism. Although Mesmerism was soon discredited, it continued to be used even after the death of Mesmer as it often produced ‘miracle’ cures. When James Braid re-examined Mesmerism in the 19th Century he discovered that simple suggestion was just as effective as Mesmerism or any other method to induce trance-like states. He it was who coined the phrase Hypnosis and for a time hypnosis became a scientific technique with scientific respectability.
In the early part of the 20th Century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists, thereby projecting a hopelessly distorted view of this very powerful therapeutic tool. However, in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education, since when it has become a valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.
What is Hypnosis?
The actual experience of being hypnotised is very difficult to describe, neither asleep nor awake. All hypnotic states are characterised by a tremendously pleasant state which is most often expereinced as relaxation, but can feel like a heightened sense of inner focus. It is in fact a naturally occuring altered state of consciousness into which individuals allow themselves to go, so that new insights and resources may be reconnected to at the unconscious level of mind, or beneficial suggestions may be absorbed. Hypnosis is a natural, effective way of making contact with the inner (unconscious) self, a source of many of our problems as well as a tremendous reservoir of unrecognised potential strength and knowledge, i.e. our forgotten assets.
Nobody can ever be hypnotised against their will and, even when hypnotised, people can still reject any of the suggestions given if they are not appropriate.
Hypnotherapy means the use of hypnosis for the treatment and relief of a variety of somatic and psychological symptoms. Hypnotherapy is completely natural and safe and there are no harmful side effects. When administered by a professionally trained and skilled Hypnotherapist the benefits are long lasting and often permanent.
The Clinical Applications of Hypnosis
Modern Hypnotherapists use Hypnosis not only for medical purposes but also as an aid for the resolution of many problems of psychological origins. It is estimated that approximately 85% of people of all age groups will readily respond to clinical Hypnotherapy. It is often successful when other, more conventional methods of treatment have failed.
Listed below are some of the conditions for which Hypnotherapy is leaglly accepted as a practical treatment, as outlined in guidance from the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis:
- Breaking unwanted habits (e.g. smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, nocturnal enuresis, nail biting, stuttering).
- Obtaining relief and often remission from symptoms such as: breathing problems, stomach and nervous problems.
- Skin problems and nervous rashes.
- Female problems such as period pains.
- Pain control for minor surgery, dentistry, arthritic pain and general neuromuscular aches and pains.