Hypnosis from the Macabre to the Amazing – Part One

The history of hypnosis is a long and fascinating journey. It began in 1766 when Anton Mesmer developed a theory that illness was the product of internal magnetic forces he called animal magnetism. Later it became known as Mesmerism, hence the idea that you could become so intent on something that you were “mesmerized”.

History of Hypnosis

He gave his patients high doses of iron them moved magnets over their bodies. The patients would go into a trance-like state and claim feeling better when they aroused.

Later, believing he had special magnetic powers within himself, Mesmer did away with the magnets and used his hands to massage his patients or just pass his hands over their bodies.
The medical community at the time was not impressed! They removed him from the faculty of the University of Vienna and forbad him to practice medicine.

Mesmer moved to Paris and became so popular he had to treat patients in groups to fit them all into his schedule. His clinic, located in an expensive neighborhood, and his clients were prosperous.
The participants would hold hands and Mesmer would pass by them in a long, flowing robe prompting them into a trance. It was quite dramatic as some would make noises or swoon which, of course, influenced others in the group.

The king, on hearing of this, appointed a commission consisting of Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Guillotin (the one who designed the Guillotine) to look into the matter.
They decreed that although results were obtained, it was from the imagination of the patient and their desire to get better NOT from magnetic forces.

The idea did not die and Mesmer continued to practice for the rest of his life.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Mesmerism move to America and paved the way for hypnosis and psychotherapy as well as Christian Science and the New Thought movement.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, please call our hypnotherapy office in Lake Mary at 407 536-5371 or contact us online

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    Alexis Brannon is a Certified Clinical  Hypnotist and Certified Instructor for medical practitioners in hypnosis.. She is not a mental health practitioner and does not provide medical or psychological services or counseling through Brannon Hypnosis Center. 


    Alexis will request medical clearance or psychological clearance before working with any client receiving psychological care or experiencing serious medical issues.

    Users of this site and clients should always refer to a licensed mental health professional for any issues relating to mental  health and well-being.


    Results are individual and vary with each client. Specific outcomes may not occur and are not guaranteed or implied, nor can they be considered typical.

    All clients of Brannon Hypnosis Center should be eighteen years of age or older. Consents for training will be requested before the first session.