How Long has Hypnotherapy Been Around?

Hypnos, which means sleep, is the Greek origin of the English word Hypnosis and its medical application Hypnotherapy. Ancient Greek has been dormant for hundreds of years now, but words like Hypnos which is connected to a modern psychological treatment procedure, makes one wonder exactly how long has hypnotherapy been around?

Hypnosis And Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a psychological trance-like state, superficially resembling sleep. This state is characterized by heightened consciousness in which awareness of the self is given much more importance than to external reality.

Hypnotherapy, also referred to as guided hypnosis, is a branch of psychotherapy that uses relaxation and peak concentration for the purpose of alleviating a variety of issues. The aim of hypnotherapy is to use a person's state of trance or unconsciousness to bring about a positive change in that person.

To better understand the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, think of hypnosis as a device and hypnotherapy as a method to use that device. In simpler terms, hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.

Uses of Hypnotherapy

The hypnotic trance state achieved through hypnosis is a dynamic method for solving many mental and physical health issues. Few of the ways health professionals use hypnotherapy are:

1. Helps people to quit smoking

2. Reduce overeating

3. Relieve chronic and acute body pain, most helpful during surgery and childbirth

4. Fights anxiousness, depression and stress

5. Sleep disorders

6. Grief over the loss of a loved one.

7. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

8. Addictions

9. Insomnia

10. Migraines

Hypnosis In Ancient India

According to history, hypnosis, also known as Sammohana, has been practised since the Vedic ages in ancient India. It was also known as Pran Vidya and Trikaal Vidya. Evidence of its use can be found in ancient texts like Bhagavat Gita and Atharveda. Many yogis and saints have been known to practice self-hypnosis on themselves during meditation.

Hypnosis In Modern World

In the latter part of the 18th century, Franz Mesmer, a German physician used hypnosis to treat patients in Paris. For a brief period, Mesmer's method of treatment was called Mesmerism after its creator. Because of improper understanding of both the medical community and Mesmer himself, hypnosis and Mesmer were soon discredit. They believed that hypnotism made use of an occult force that flowed through the hypnotist into the patient.

Until the 19th century, hypnosis was practised discreetly inside the closed walls of clinics, without any proper understanding of its nature. An English physician named James Braid, was the first person to study the phenomenon and coin the terms hypnotism from the Greek word Hypnos, meaning sleep.

Methods Used in Hypnotherapy :

Suggestion Therapy:

Suggestion therapy relies on an individuals' ability to react to suggestions from a psychologist, when under hypnosis. This method is used to control addictions like nail-biting, gambling, smoking and overeating.


On the other hand, analysis is effective for digging deep into the subconscious mind to retrieve repressed memories of past traumas. This method is most useful for treating psychological distress, mental health conditions and problematic behaviours. This is also called Regression therapy.


When a person concentrates his mind on something that exists at this moment, and do so without any judgement, then he is using Mindfulness. The benefits of practising Mindfulness are numerous. It improves our ability to focus, study, and work. Further, our usual automatic judgements control us less, helping us change our thinking more easily. For instance, we can deal with a stressful memory much more easily when we choose what we think about.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ( CBT )

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychology that is very effective in treating a wide range of issues. It is based on the premise that our thinking is not always ideal – nearly everyone creates emotional problems by this means but having discovered our own rogue thoughts we can substitute more helpful ones.

At the first paragraph we were wondering whether hypnotherapy was even a scientific medical procedure and for how long has hypnotherapy been around. But on further research and reasoning, we understand that Hypnotherapy is a proper and proven medical procedure capable of changing the lives and mentality of countless affected people.

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