Is medical hypnosis the answer to better health?

This article originally appeared on Communities@WashingtonTimes.com. May 28, 2012.

Although many of us tend to think of hypnosis in terms of swinging stopwatches and making unsuspecting people act like chickens, it turns out that this age-old practice is now being used for far more practical purposes, including better health and lower hospital bills. However, as progressive as this may sound, I wonder if such an approach to easing suffering ultimately gives us more or less control over our bodies.

The practice of hypnosis dates back to the late eighteenth century when German physician, Franz Mesmer, theorized that the universe contained an invisible, health-inducing “fluid” that could be transferred from one person or “animate being” to another using inanimate objects such as magnets; a process he called “animal magnetism.” (Using this term to describe someone’s sex appeal didn’t happen until years later.)

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