Describe the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis and discuss the role of relaxation in Hypnotherapy.
To understand hypnosis and the psychological and physical aspects of hypnosis, I feel it is important, firstly, to understand what hypnosis is and to look at its origins and evolution. Following this, I feel I can then begin to understand and explain the relationship between the psychological and physical looking at the developments in neuroscience and the use of relaxation in hypnosis today.
Throughout history there is evidence of altered states of awareness or trance like states having been used by Shamans and ancient people in rituals and religious ceremonies. Shamans allowed their subconscious mind to become strongly focused and used visualisation and suggestion to aid healing. The term hypnosis originates from the Greek work “hypnos” which means sleep. James Braid was the English physician who coined the word hypnosis in the 1800’s after his scientific study into what he called “nervous sleep.” Throughout the history of hypnosis, trance like states or sleeps are often words associated with hypnosis and have been used to describe an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis as we know it today was first associated with the work of an Austrian physician named Franz Anton Mesmer. In the 1700s, Mesmer believed that illnesses were caused by magnetic fluids in the body getting out of balance. This he associated to the influence of the planets on the human body. He used magnets and other hypnotic techniques (the word “mesmerized” comes from his name) to treat people. Mesmer chose his term to clearly distinguish his variant of magnetic force from those referred to at the time as mineral magnetism, cosmic magnetism and planetary magnetism. Mesmer felt that this particular force/power only resided in the bodies of humans and animals.
Mesmer chose the word "animal," for its root meaning (from