Medical hypnotherapy

A Brief History of Hypnosis

We’ve been using hypnosis for rather a long time; longer, it turns out, than medicine as a practice has been around.

More than 3000 years ago it was used in India, and in the British Museum there is a bas relief taken from a tomb in Thebes that shows an Egyptian hypnotist and his patient.

Aesculapius, the ancient Roman God of Healing, was able to relieve pain by stroking with his hands to induce long and refreshing sleep in his patients, while, according to Tacitus,  Hippocrates, (460BC – 370BC), spoke of impressing health on the ill by “passes.” 

In 1766, Franz Anton Mesmer formulated his theory on animal magnetism, which he published in Paris in 1779. For a long time, hypnosis was referred to as ‘Mesmerism’, although, technically Mesmer thought of the process as having something to do with a quality he called, ‘Animal Magnetism’.

In 1823, the French Academy concluded that “research on magnetism should be encouraged as constituting a most curious branch of psychology.”

In the mid 19th Century, John Elliotson, the first Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University Hospital, London, used hypnosis to prepare patients for  major surgery. Many reported feeling no discomfort during the procedures. In one case, Elliotson removed a tumour weight 36 Kg, from a patient whom he had spent four days preparing with hypnosis.

In the late 19th Century, a Manchester surgeon named, John Braid, recognized that with the induction of the ‘mesmeric state’, the eyes exhibited a peculiar type of movement that he thought was of a reflex n a t u r e  He broke away from Mesmer’s theory and believed that the “state” resulted from some physiological change in the individual induced by tiring the eyes, and this resulted in a peculiar physiological condition of the brain and the spinal cord. It was Braid who recognized the importance of suggestion and devised the name “hypnosis.”

From then until the development of anaesthetic drugs  around the turn of the 20th Century, with their huge advantage of having an almost instantaneous effect, hypnosis was commonly used to reduce and even eliminate all sensation during surgical procedures.

However for thousands of years, hypnosis has been recognised as a powerful and effective tool in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, and is becoming increasingly used in the 21st C, as science recognises the extent of the mind/body connection.

There is little that happens in the body that the mind doesn’t influence, much of which takes place at the subconscious level.

Which is precisely where hypnosis does its best work


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Hypnotherapy and Weight Loss – Third Study

Here is the last of three studies investigating the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in assisting with weight loss.

Study 3*

In this meta-analysis, (which is when researchers correlate the results of multiple studies), the results of the two studies in my last two posts and other studies were

In the studies of hypnosis versus no hypnosis the average short-term weight loss was 6 pounds for those not using hypnosis and 11.83 pounds with hypnosis. Even more importantly, over the long term the average weight loss without hypnosis remained at 6 pounds, but with hypnosis it jumped to 14.88 pounds, indicating again that the effects of hypnosis seem to continue over time.

What is impressive about these results is that doing hypnosis under controlled conditions is extremely difficult, and to have the research indicate that people are losing anywhere from about 2 to on average 16 1/2 times more weight under hypnosis than when they do not use it, clearly indicates that hypnosis is a highly effective tool in our weight management toolbox.


* Kirsch, Irving (1996). “Hypnotic enhancement of cognitive-behavioral weight loss treatments”—another meta-reanalysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64 (3), 517-519.

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Hypnotherapy in medicine The subconscious approach to healing

“Hypnosis makes no claim that it can cure physical illness. Hypnosis simply has the ability to stimulate the human mind to it’s fullest potential to cure the body. Each person’s mind has the ability to make the condition better or worse. Depending on the given strength of that person’s mind and how advanced the medical condition is the expected outcomes will change.

For example, doctors and others have seen people give up and die quickly thereafter. Doctors and others have also seen people fight and survive much longer than expected. It has also been observed that some people recover completely.

We generally accept today that humans use about 5% of their brain day. That is simply referred to as the conscious mind. The subconscious mind makes up the remaining 95%. Everything other than cognitive thought is subconscious. This includes the regulation of hormones, body temperature, pain management, blood flow, and other functions that can be manipulated with modern medicine. Antibiotics and antiviral medicines are excluded because they deal with foreign organisms.

In short medicines that effect how people feel only mimic what hypnosis does naturally. However the manual administration of medicine may exceed the body’s natural ability to produce it on it’s own.

Unlike administration of medicines, there are no side effects with hypnotherapy because nothing is being introduced into the body.”

This is a quote from a wide ranging paper that John Krukowski C.H. presented to the Science Department at the Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand in 2006. It discusses how hypnotherapy is effective in assisting the healing of many illnesses, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Fibromyalgia, Hypertension, Multiple Sclerosis and Pain Management.
John also touches on Hypnooncology, mentioning a programme called “I CAN”, at the La Grange Memorial Hospital in La Grange Illinios.

To read the complete presentation, Click Here

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