The Ancient and Odd Roots of Modern Hypnotherapy


The idea of making use of the services of professionals offering hypnotherapy in New York is no longer as ‘unusual’ as it might have been considered just a few decades ago. The fact is that hypnotherapy is now finally considered by the mainstream as a valid and effective tool for aiding people in dozens of different ways, everything from weight loss and smoking cessation to anxiety and insomnia relief. But the roots of hypnosis go back a lot further than you might realize.

Long before hypnotherapy NYC treatment ever existed, in fact long before New York ever existed, various forms of hypnotherapy were practiced all over the world. With each variant adding something to what would become the modern practices of hypnotherapy that hypnotherapy New York offers today. 

And some of it involved chickens…

Hypnotherapy in Ancient Times

Like so many ‘alternative treatments’ the origins of modern hypnotherapy can be traced back to ancient times. The Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Egyptians were big fans. In fact, the word “hypnosis” is derived from the Greek word hypnos, which means “sleep” (even though one IS NOT asleep during a hypnotherapy New York session).

Both the Egyptians and the Greeks weaved the practice of hypnosis into both their medical and religious practices. Making use of hypnosis in a startlingly similar way to today; using it to help people overcome their vices, their fears, and their stresses. And they weren’t alone. Various writings confirm that the Chinese and the Hindu Vedas were making use of hypnosis-like techniques as far back as 3,000 BC.

Hypnosis in Medieval Times: All About the Chickens

In Europe, hypnosis took an odd turn in the Medieval era. It became a popular way for farmers to get more from their hens. How? Various farmers across Britain and Europe claimed that they had learned that by ‘hypnotizing’ their laying fowl they could not only calm them in order to help them lay better but to avoid ‘bad behaviors’ like sitting on other hens’ eggs and aggressive pecking.

The First Modern Hypnotist?

It was from these practices that the man often considered the ‘father’ of what would become modern hypnosis, Austrian physician Franz Mesmer, began to develop his theories and techniques. He was the first person to propose a rational basis for the effects of hypnosis and the first to begin developing consistent methods of using it. He’s also the man we have to blame for the cliched Hollywood image of a hypnotist; a strange person dressed up in a cloak working with ethereal music and odd hand gestures because that is exactly what he did (he was apparently very dramatic, but it was the 17th century after all…)

It would be almost two hundred years after Mesmer – who practiced in the 1740s-1790s – before hypnosis was seen as anything but a ‘fraud’ by the mainstream medical community. It is thanks to others – including surgeons John Elliotson and James Esdaille and researcher James Braid in the 19th century and Sigmund Freud in the early part of the twentieth – that modern hypnotherapy exists as it does now. But it’s still worth giving a nod to the Ancients, the chickens, and the odd man in the cloak as well.

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