Hypnotherapy, another great Scottish Invention!




When it comes to inventing things, us Scots seem to have a knack for it. Television, Radar,the Telephone, Penicillin, Pneumatic tyre,International Law, the Hypodermic Syringe, Modern Surgery, General Anaesthetic,Golf, the Refrigerator, Grand Theft Auto, The Bank of England, the Electric Toaster, Marmalade, the Russian Navy, the flushing toilet,the Lawnmower,the X-Ray,Ice Hockey, the God Particle (Bosun-Higgs), Logarithms, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, High School, th.


e Pedal Bicycle and Modern Economics that heavily influenced Communism ( Adam Smith) and...Hypnotherapy!!


Yes, Hypnotherapy was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the University of Edinburgh to be precise.The man given most of the credit was a Scottish Surgeon from Kinross, Perthshire in Scotland. He is called "The Father of Hypnosis" as he took it from the occult shadows of Mesmerism and applied it to his clinical practice as a Surgeon.


He actually came up with the name Hypnosis derived from the Greek God of sleep, Hypnos and straight away regretted it as people thought that Hypnotherapy was all about going to sleep and not being aware of what is taking place, when the exact opposite is true! What he discovered is that Hypnosis is all about the fixation of attention, so he tried to rename just that...Neurophynology but the term Hypnosis stuck and still causes confusion to this day!


Another key finding was that he observed that certain internal physical processes such as heart rate and blood circulation could be controlled to quite a powerful degree whilst his patient was in a state of hypnotic trance and from those observations one of his colleagues when onto practice the idea of Ideo-motor signals which again is still used everyday by Clinical Hypnotherapists and Anaesthetists.


Dr Braid then went onto provide clinical evidence to what Hypnosis actually was..." A psychological phenomena rooted in a physiological process" This research is at the root of all the later developments and achievements that Hypnotherapy has now shown the world and this was in 1843!


What I really love about Dr James Braid is that he walked the talk and was not just a theorist but used Hypnosis daily in his medical practice in the relief of pain control, headaches, skin conditions and even Rheumatoid Arthritis. He really did deserve the title of "Father of Hypnotherapy"


However there was another Scot by the name of Dr James Esdaile who came from Montrose, Angus in Scotland who also contributed an awful lot to the development and acceptance by the medical profession and the general public by his pioneering work using Hypnosis as an Anaesthetic when carrying out surgery in India.


Dr James Esdaile was again educated at the University of Edinburgh in 1829 studying Medicine and from there went onto to become a Surgeon working for the British East India Company. He worked at many different hospitals all around India and whilst doing so started to experiment the use of Mesmerism (Hypnosis) as an anaesthetic. He called it painless surgery or Mesmeric Anaesthesia and the first formal procedure he used Hypnosis was on a Convict suffering with a double Hydrocele. The surgery involved the drainage and injection into one side of the patient's scrotum that caused the man so much pain,(I am crossing my legs just at the thought of this!), James Esdaile decided to to use Hypnosis for the second operation of this type. The operation was indeed a success as the hypnosis achieved creating Analgesia and the use of Hypnosis in Anaesthetics was thus born.Interestingly enough this event took place before Sir James Young Simpson discovered Chloroform at Edinburgh University! Another Scot inventing stuff that changed the world! :)


James Esdaile deserves in my humble opinion just as much credit as James Braid in pioneering the use of Hypnosis in Medicine especially Anaesthetics because he received a lot of ridicule and criticism from his peers in the medical profession after he published a book all about the applications of Hypnosis but he walked the talk by continuing to use hypnosis as an anaesthetic in his surgical procedures and even now in the 21st century, Anaesthetists and Dentists use Hypnosis as an anaesthetic when their patient is allergic to chemical anaesthetics. And you thought Hypnosis was all about making people think and act like a chicken!


Edinburgh still has a thriving Hypnotherapy community, in fact there are more practicing Hypnotherapists in Edinburgh than in Glasgow! We have all types ranging from CBT practioners,Holistic,Psychodynamic and NLP (like me).They also have all their own niches ranging from Sex (Dawn Thomson) sporting performance,phobias,weight loss,smoking cessation and Addictions(me).


We now have also the world renowned creator of Hypnosis without Trance(HWT), James Tripp living and working from Edinburgh which only adds to what is on offer in Edinburgh when it comes to Hypnosis Training and Hypnotherapy.


Andy MacArthur is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Coach who is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK and treats all forms of addictions, anxiety and pain.



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© 2020 by Andy MacArthur, Clinical Therapist.