Hypnosis has been used as a healing technique since the time of the ancient Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians.

Hypnosis is named after the Greek word for sleep, hypnos, although the actual state of being hypnotised is very different from sleep. It has, however, been called different names, by different cultures, different religions, and different individuals.

Accounts of what we would now call Hypnosis can also be found in the Bible, the Talmud, and The Hindu Vedas written about 1500 BC.

In 1773 Franz Anton Mesmer placed Hypnotism, Mesmerism as it was called then, in the spotlight. But in 1784 a committee was formed to investigate Mesmerism. They decided that mesmerism was a 'fraud' as it was not possible to 'see' what was causing the effect. Among the committeemen was Benjamin Franklin, the discoverer of Electricity, which you also cannot see!

Before the invention of chloroform, operations in India had a mortality rate of around 50%. Dr. Esdale, a British surgeon working in India in a prison hospital around 1845 used hypnosis to produce analgesia for major surgical operations. The death rate for his operations dropped to 5% from 50%. When he returned to England with his findings his licence was revoked by the British Medical Association because they thought what Dr Esdale did was blasphemous.

In 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.