Hypnotism may have origins as far back as the ancient cultures of India, Egypt, and Greece, where individuals were taken to Sleep temples to go into a healing, sleep-like trance. In the 1800s, Dr. James Esdaile, and Dr. John Elliotson, reported hundreds of painless operations using an early form of hypnosis, called mesmerism, as the sole anesthetic. Many doctors over the centuries made use of hypnosis in this way, until the quicker application of chemical anesthetics became the norm.
In more recent years, many psychologists in the 20th Century studied and experimented with hypnosis, adding their own contributions to its definition and practice. In 1955 the British Medical Association (BMA) approved the use of hypnosis, encouraging physicians and medical students to receive training in it. The American Medical Association (AMA) approved the use of hypnosis in 1958 calling it “A viable and beneficial health alternative.” Since the 1950s more than 12,000 articles have been written in medical and psychological journals. Today there is a general agreement that hypnosis can be a beneficial part of treatment for many issues.