The History of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy in the Ancient World

Many people want to understand hypnosis but to truly understand hypnosis you need to take a look at its use in ancient civilizations throughout history. As you study history you find that hypnosis has probably been used as a therapeutic tool throughout the history of mankind.

The Hypnotic World

A quick look around today can tell us a lot about our hypnotic world. Modern anthropologists have determined that the healing brought about by the village witchdoctor, shaman or wise woman, can often be attributed to a strong belief in the one being healed. The chanting and singing that is part of these cures often takes the form of what we n the western world would call suggestion. Just as science is beginning to tell us today, these natural healers have believed for centuries that the body, thoughts and emotions influence each other. As a result they have found that it is possible to influence a physical sickness by changing someone’s thoughts, emotions and behavioral patterns.

Hypnosis and Religion

Modern scholars tell us that hypnosis was practiced during numerous medicinal practices and rituals in the ancient world. Celtic druids and Chinese religious leaders used hypnotism. There also seem to be some evidence of its use in the pages of the Jewish Scriptures and the Hindu Vedas. There are also historical records of its practice in Persia as well as South America.

The First Written Accounts of Hypnosis in History

While there is a great deal of evidence showing hypnosis rituals during pre-historic times, one of the first written accounts was through hieroglyphics decorating Egyptian tombs dated around 3000 BC. These hieroglyphics show ancient Egyptians using hypnosis in the Egyptian sleep temples. It seems that these temples were places where worshippers were put to sleep and priests suggested cures for differing types of illnesses. The procedure for formal hypnotic induction as it is known and used today actually came from these priests.

The success of the Egyptian sleep temples led to their introduction into Greek culture in 4th Century BC. 100 years after that it was introduced in Rome. The temples remained popular and functioning during the flourishing period of the Roman Empire.

European Hypnosis History

It is hard to say when the suggestion and sleep cure concept was first introduced in Europe. Both the new and old testaments of the Bible seem to speak of what could be called hypnosis. The practice of lying on of hands was introduced in the first century and its therapeutic value was reinforced by the English monarchy, particularly Edward the Confessor (1042-1066 AD). This was recognized by the Church of England and rituals were put into place with appropriate healing hymns and chants to facilitate cures. Eventually royalty lost interest and as a result, so did the people. Afterwards suggestion healing fell into disrepute and was considered a practice of black magicians and sorcerers. During the middle ages it came to be considered more evil than beneficial and it was during this time period that many of the misconceptions that exist to this day were formed.

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History of hypnosis 

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The Most Frequently Asked Questions about Hypnosis

About the author

Wil Dieck is a hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner located in San Diego,CA. He is the founder of Total Mind Therapy, a method that blends hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) to help people make quick shifts in their thinking and their behaviors. If you are interested in learning more about how Total Mind Therapy can help you then call (619) 293-3255. You’ll be scheduled for a risk free phone evaluation to determine how Total Mind Therapy can benefit you.