Medical Professionals and Hypnosis

Hypnosis has been the distant and poor relation of medicine in recent years. It has not always been that way however. The earliest reference to hypnosis relates to sleep temples in Egypt (3000-1000 BC) and Greece (2000-500 BC) which provided refuge for patients whose healing experience involved hypnotic chanting. Some time later, Paracelsus, a German-Swiss physician, botanist, alchemist and astrologer who lived from 1493 to 1541 was documented as using hypnotic techniques. He is quoted as saying ‘Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art. It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters; it deals with the very processes of life, which must be understood before they may be guided.’ (www.egs.edu/library/paracelsus/biography). Parcelsus believed that the body could heal itself and that the mind and body are intertwined in the healing process. Three centuries later James Esdaile, a Scottish surgeon (1808-1859) was widely regarded as being one of the most influential people in the world of medicine and hypnosis. Esdaile travelled to Calcutta from England and performed many operations using hypnosis as the sole anesthetic at a time when pain relief was not available (Ernst, 2004). (Above is small excerpt from PhD thesis by Niamh Flynn)

There have been many more influential personalities who employed the use of hypnosis and in future blogs I will certainly explore these figures in greater details. What is surprising is that in spite of the wealth of scientific proof that hypnosis is an effective tool for a variety of health problems, including chronic and acute pain, hypnosis is currently frequently resigned to a ‘last resort’ for people in pain. Is this because there is a lack of knowledge about hypnosis works? A fear about hypnosis perhaps? Maybe it is because hypnosis is not funded by the health service? Perhaps the academics who carry out research on chronic pain and hypnosis lack the skills to bring that information to market. It could be a combination of reasons. Thankfully there are many medical professionals who recognize the power of hypnosis and who have been sharing that information by practicing the ancient art. One forward thinking GP, based in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Dr. Pat Harrold, has been a proponent of hypnosis for many years. He has successfully helped many people lose weight, quit smoking and achieve many other goals by using hypnosis. You can have a look at an article he wrote here…