Hypnotism Facts
Hypnotism Facts

34 Mesmerizing Hypnosis Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published October 7, 2018Updated October 4, 2019
  • The term hypnosis comes from the ancient Greek word hypnos, which means 
    "to sleep."[5]
  • One of the most common hypnosis inductions is to mentally guide a person down a staircase.[2]
  • German physician Franz Mesmer is known as the "father of modern hypnotism." Hypnosis was initially called "mesmerism" after Mesmer, and the word "mesmerize" is derived from his last name.[8]
  • Franz Mesmer, the father of modern hypnosis, believed that there was a magnetic force or "fluid" called "animal magnetism" that could be controlled by hypnosis. American scientist Ben Franklin argued that Mesmer was a fraud and essentially ruined his career.[8]
  • Avicenna (980–1027), a Persian physician, was one of the first people to describe hypnotism. He believed that a strong personality or soul could influence others via hypnotism (called al-wahm al-amil).[1]
  • Surprising Hypnosis Fact
    Sleep temples are regarded by some as an early instance of hypnosis
  • In Greece, there were sleep temples named "Asclepieions," in honor of the Greek god of Medicine, Asclepios. Here, patients underwent "incubation," or sleeping in a sacred place, in the hopes of receiving a divinely inspired dream or cure.[3]
  • There is evidence of hypnosis nearly 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. People would enter "sleep temples" where they ingested herbs and recited hours of rhythmic prayer in an attempt to be cured of whatever was ailing them.[3]
  • The ancient Jews practiced a proto-type of hypnosis called kavvanah, which involved focusing on letters of the Hebrew alphabet. During kavvanah, a person focuses on the very essence of a prayer rather than rote recitation.[3]
  • A type of hypnosis called hypno-analgesia can help manage various forms of pain, such as childbirth.[4]
  • In 1847, the Catholic Church finally conceded that hypnosis was not of the devil. They declared that the practice was allowed as long as it didn't lead to depravity.[3]
  • Scottish surgeon James Braid was the first to coin the word "hypnotism" in the 1840s.[8]
  • "Allow yourself to see what you don’t allow yourself to see."

    - Milton H. Erickson, American psychiatrist

  • A young J.R.R. Tolkien helped unearth a Roman sleep temple at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, in 1928, which inspired some of his work in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Specifically, Frodo's encounter with an evil wraith on the Barrow Downs is reminiscent of the sleep temple ruins.[10]
  • Advertisers try to use hypnosis tricks to imprint consumers with keywords and images that will invoke a response when we see the image or word again.[7]
  • A person cannot be hypnotized against their will.[6]
  • Stage hypnosis is a trick for entertainment and is not considered "real" hypnosis.[6]
  • Some people have higher hypnotic suggestibility or susceptibility to hypnosis than other people.[6]
  • Everyone experiences trance-like hypnosis every day, such as when we are day-dreaming, in deep thought, or watching television.[7]
  • Hypnotherapy Fact
    Hypnosis is a natural state

  • Though often depicted in movies, it is not possible become stuck in a hypnotic trance.[8]
  • The first recorded instance of using hypnotism for anesthesia was on April 12, 1829, in Paris. Dr. Jules Cloquet operated on a woman with breast cancer. According to him, she did not feel any pain from the surgery while under hypnosis.[3]
  • Abbe Faria, a character in the book The Count of Monte Cristo, was based on a real-life person by the same name. The real Abbe Faria did not die in prison. He served out his sentence, moved to Paris, and became fascinated with hypnotism.[3]
  • While side effects to hypnosis are rare, they can include anxiety, weariness, headache, and the creation of false memories.[6]
  • Because hypnosis helps the brain change how it perceives information, it can help patients overcome fears and phobias.[6]
  • In Hollywood movies, hypnotists often used pendulums or pocket watches to induce hypnosis. Today, however, most inductions are verbal and not visual.[8]
  • Hypnotherapy Facts
    Most hypnotists and hypnotherapists use verbal rather than visual inductions

  • Hypnosis has been used to help children with ADHD; it can improve focus, reduce stress, and boost self-esteem.[6]
  • Researchers do not advise using hypnosis on people with severe mental disorders.[6]
  • Several studies have shown that hypnosis has helped people stop smoking.[6]
  • In 1955, the British Medical Association recognized hypnosis as a useful therapeutic tool.[8]
  • Hypnosis has been proven to help patients change behavior, eliminate bad habits, and boost positive behavioral changes.[8]
  • Hypnotism can help couples improve their sex life. Sessions typically run between $800–$1,500.[8]
  • Assassin Creed Fact
    John Elliotson founded a mesmeric hospital in 1849
  • In the 1830s, English surgeon John Elliotson performed nearly 2,000 surgeries using hypnotism to manage his patients’ pain. The major antagonist in Assassin’s Creed, Syndicate, is based on him.[3]
  • Hypnotherapy and hypnosis are not the same. Hypnotherapy is a more guided type of hypnosis with the aim of helping a patient overcome a psychological problem.[8]
  • Hypnosis has been used to treat anxiety and other ailments, such as hot flashes and irritable bowel syndrome.[6]
  • In 2013, a self-taught hypnotist named Timothy Porter hypnotized a married woman to help her with her anxiety. She called the police when he tried to persuade her to touch her breasts while he performed a sex act on himself while she was hypnotized.[9]
  • In 1958, the American Medical Association approved the medical use of hypnosis.[8]
  • Fun Hypnosis Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Hypnosis Infographic

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