Hypnosis is the modern word for the sleep-like or trance state first discovered by Dr. Mesmer in France. He had a tree in his front garden and told his patients that if they held onto that tree they would be healed. Many people went into a hypnotic trance on touching the tree (rather like the man in the Bible who touched Jesus’ shirt). Hence the term “Mesmerised”.
Hypnosis can take many forms. When performed by a therapist it is done by reading from a script to a client who relaxes and falls into hypnosis. The relaxation is usually commenced by simple breathing exercises and concentrating the attention within the body. Stage entertainers can also induce a trance state by giving a person a sudden surprise or shock, usually involving a movement. This causes the left-hand or cognitive part of the brain to “shut down” since it is confused, handing control to the right-hand or subconscious part of the brain. Hypnotic states may also be induced by guided meditations or simply by concentrating on something intently. A modern example of the latter is people using their smartphones. This induces a zombie-like state which can cause all sorts of bizarre and amusing accidents. You have been warned ! Do you really want to experience “accelerated evolution” ?