The concept of hypnosis is an interesting one that has run the gamut between religious and spiritual experiences, occult power, healing, and even magic for some. However, the history of hypnosis as we are aware of it today can be traced back to the Enlightenment period during the 18th century. It was at this time that hypnosis moved from the area of spiritual or occult practices into a more scientific process.
The most well known practitioner of hypnosis is Franz Mesmer, who treated the process like a form of magic that transferred from one person to another. However, his methods quickly led to disfavor and ridicule, at least until James Braid and other researchers of the 19th century came along. At this time, hypnosis began to receive more interest and credit as a viable technique that had the potential to help others.
The first doctors and surgeons to utilize this unorthodox method took a huge risk of ruining their reputations, but were determined to prove the efficacy of the process. The combined efforts of various researchers, physicians, and others quickly paved the way for hypnosis to move into mainstream medicine, where many began to accept that it had a valid place as a clinical therapy.
Today, hypnosis is often used to get to the bottom of psychological issues, especially for those who are unable to remember troubling or painful times in their pasts. Additionally, hypnosis is quickly becoming a solution for those who need help to control cravings for foods, drugs, and tobacco.
The interesting thing about hypnosis is that there are those who truly believe in its power and those who remain skeptical. However, ongoing research is quickly uncovering plenty of evidence to support the benefits of hypnosis, eating away at the number of skeptics, and providing a better understanding of the power and potential that it can offer.