In the history of hypnosis, there are many people who are important. One was Franz Anton Mesmer who in the period around 1779 gave hypnosis a name but the name he gave it was mesmerism. He was all the rage in the day. He felt he had the ability to magnetize people with his power. But we know now it was his personality and ability to use theatrical performances to assist people. He worked with some very interesting people. One of his early cases was a young woman who visited him after going blind; her eyes were rolled up and stuck under her eyelids. One of the things we learned from Mesmer was that emotional traumas can create physical manifestations to the body. We know today that excessive stress can have a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health.
Then in 1849, along came a man named Dr. James Braid, a Scottish surgeon. He was not convinced of the validity of Mesmerism and wanted to do research on it. So he did some simple experimentation such as placing a wine bottle on the table and having his assistant sit in a chair staring at it. Dr. Braid would not say anything as he observed this exercise. After a while what do you think happened? The assistant would begin to close his eyes. Dr. Braid recorded his findings in medical journals. As he continued his writing, he changed the name of mesmerism into hypnosis from the Ancient Greek word (ὕπνος or Hypnos) which meant “sleep”. He wanted to flag the idea that Dr. Braid of Greek origin recognized this phenomenon as sleep. But as time passed, he realized it really was not sleep
Someone who is in hypnosis may appear to be asleep. But the reality is that he or she is not asleep. The eyes may be closed with noted eye movements. A smoothness of facial features may be noted with a change in the breathing pattern. But the reality is when hypnotized, you are very aware. You are not asleep. You can hear and follow along. It is a consent state; the person has to want to be hypnotized. You cannot control somebody within hypnotic nor make them do things they do not want to do.