The history of Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a trans-like state in which one has heightened focus and concentration.  We continuously deal with the duality of our mind without paying much attention to it. The subconscious doesn’t care for logic and social conformity; therefore, the subconscious may lead us to take risks. On the other hand, we may need to connect with our subconscious to know who we really are and what we want.

Hypnotherapy does not cure us of any issues we are suffering from, but it helps us engage in doing the work that will help us gain positive results. The Hypnotherapists put the patient in a trans-like state in which it is possible to give suggestions that assist the client in doing the work that felt too hard or scary before. For example, if the client is terrified about social gatherings, in the perceptive hypnotic state, the client may re-visit a suppressed memory of being bullied in the past, thus developing a fear of being in public. Once the root of the problem is known, the hypnotist can suggest to the client how to confront and treat people in social gatherings.

Unfortunately, Hypnosis and Hypnotists are often confused with supernatural myths, magic, fraudulence, voodoo, and harmful activities. Popular media often create confusing images, and TV shows portray people doing silly things under hypnosis, making it an insane spectacle. People often cannot see it as a part of the health care system and believe it is an unscientific method. 

The above is not too different from our attitude to a mental health condition; only recently we have started to recognize mental health issues, and we are learning that there should not be any stigma attached to mental health problems because we all have mental health concerns as long as we are alive. We understand our mind exists, and the physical world has an impact on our mind. We also know the existence of the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious state of the mind (the unconscious is a process that happens automatically and is not available for introspection and the subconscious, by contrast, is part of our consciousness process that is not actively in focal awareness). Therefore, studying mental health is not an unscientific activity; hence learning different methods to treat the mind sounds rational. Hypnotherapy is a method of helping the client, and mind science is studied with an educated and logical approach. There are no magic or supernatural activities involved.

The association of the supernatural image perhaps comes from the old world when medicine was practiced in the temples. The practitioners were high priests. This is not so surprising. Ask yourself if you were a member of the public in 500 BC. Would you be able to explain how the practitioner cured you of a virus attack or the mental health condition that was taking over your life? You would naturally see the practitioner with supernatural power, and you would rather see the health care professionals in the temple than in ordinary buildings. The practitioners would feel much safer practicing and researching in the sacred environment avoiding questions and conflicts. Contrary to what many believe, the research on medicine, health care, and mental health issues began a few millenniums ago. These researches were methodical and logical, and many of these researches and theories are still studied. The outcomes were often explained via religious texts, mythologies, and preaching, and this helps us know why the scriptures were necessary for the people.

The practices of hypnotism can be beneficial. A Hypnotised person doesn’t fall asleep but stays in a trans-like state referred to as the dream state in the past. It only works if the patient is willing to fall into the trans-like state. Hypnotism does not work if the patient is defensive or cynical. The subject also has to put the hypnotist in a place of authority and submit to his/her will to receive suggestions. The client gets recommendations at the “Dream sleep” stage; hence a wrong practitioner can be highly dangerous for the patient. A person can develop a permanent mental health condition and fail in real-life because of the wrong or dishonest treatments. Therefore, it is crucial that we refer to the credited practitioners only. However, this also explains the worries we associate with hypnotism. There are stories of cult leaders and false preachers practicing hypnotism and making people lose total control of self and self-confidence.

On the contrary, medically trained hypnotists can help the client to have total control of the mind and help to become physically healthy, follow a better diet, mend relationships and deal with stress and anxiety or even overcome them. The positive power of hypnotism has been recognized by Sigmund Freud, Pierre Janet Alfred Binet, and many other psychologists and philosophers.

The study of the mind is sometimes thought to be a reasonably modern practice, and we like to believe that the awareness of the subconscious mind only came to attention in the contemporary time. However, mind science study took place millenniums ago, and different civilizations came up with different methods to treat mental health issues. Seems unbelievable? You will be surprised once you will focus on the knowledge and strategies of different civilizations practiced and how people are still relying on those methods.

To understand how we have arrived at the modern state of hypnotherapy, we must look at the three stages of human civilization.

The Ancient World: 3000 BC- 500 AD

Medieval Era: 500 AD- 1500 AD.  Renaissance Period (1300-1600 AD)

Modern Time: 1700 AD- Present

We shall look at the ancient world and check how a variety of civilization in Asia, Europe and Africa worked with the mind science and the trans-like state of mind and how they have influenced each other. It will help us travel the world and find links with modern practices, terms of words and phrases and techniques. 

It is important to note that to travel the ancient world, we have to visit the temples and the scriptures. The renaissance period gave birth to thoughts such as separating the spirituality from the research and medical care. Until then, the two went hand in hand. Therefore, we are going to explore the ancient world by mostly visiting the temples and knowing about the high priests’/Priestesses’ practices. Studies and research were separated from the ordinary people in the ancient world, and a selected number of people would be joining the temple as apprentices. The practitioners were often presented as supernatural beings, and in time, they gained deity status and sometimes even became mythological characters. Nobody believed the epic of Homer’s Iliad was true until Troy was identified in the North-West of Turkey, which existed in 3000 BC. Hence we must not rule out the possibility of the Hindu deity Krishna’s existence or that Jesus existed. In fact, many historians believe that Krishna lived in 5000 BC, and the reality of Jesus has been explained by researchers, and you can study extensively about them. Seeing them as supernatural beings is a matter of personal choice, but that kind of emotion does not apply in methodical studies.

Therefore, we have to look at the mythologies and temple cultures with a view in mind that these people existed with research skills and knowledge, and they made significant impacts on the people of their times. Hence they may have been seen as deities and saints. It is a part of human nature that still plays.

Therefore, the purpose of visiting various religious traditions is not to convert the readers into faith culture but to understand where the study of mind first started and how do we identify the roots of hypnosis in world history.

Hypnosis in the Ancient world 3000 BC- 500 AD

Indian Subcontinent

The earliest urban civilization in the Indian subcontinent is known to be the Indus Civilisation, appearing in 2500-1700 BC, located in Sindh in modern Pakistan. They used a pictograph for communication, which we still cannot translate. The civilization fell for unknown reasons, and a new civilization arose at around 1500 BC in the Northern part of Modern India known as Punjab today. The nomads from Central Asia with Indo-European heritage settled in the thick forest and fertile land of the river Ganges and spread over the Eastern parts of modern Pakistan, most of modern Bangladesh, Northern and Eastern parts of modern India. They later influenced Afghanistan, the rest of South Asia, neighboring China, and the central Asian tribes. They are also referred to as the Aryans as it is believed that the people of Aryan in Persia moved to this territory. The term Aryan was used to refer to a specific race with white skin and blond hair in the early nineteenth century. The word Aryan originally meant Civilised, noble, and free and didn’t associate with any ethnicity. The Aryan God Krishna featured black skin, hence another proof that Aryan didn’t denote white supremacy. The Aryans created a culture of contemplation and self-reflection known as the Vedic civilization.

The Vedic civilization was formed with the Aryan culture meaning Noble, Free, and Knowledge, and knew about the duality of the mind. Source:

The Veda people concentrated on texts and literature, architecture, psychosocial behaviors, sex and sexuality, morals, ethics, and psychology in the most sophisticated form that is still studied and preached. The Veda civilization lasted up to 500 BC, and the earliest written literature is found from this era. Grammatically sophisticated Indo-European language Sanskrit was born, and the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible equivalent to a Hindu, was written in the Vedic era.

The evidence of using Hypnosis is found in the Gita. Bhagavad Geeta contains a philosophical discussion between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna at the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Lord Krishna is equal to Jesus Christ to a Hindu, and few Indo-Christians see him as the earliest representation of God on earth. Krishna took a human into a trans-like state, and this trans-like state is known as Sammohona. This word is still used in the languages of the Indian subcontinent for Hypnotism. Lord Krishna is also known as the Mohna (the hypnotist), meaning the one who performs the sammohan (hypnotism). Krishna, in his childhood, would play his flute and make the wild animals gather around him, and the women would fall into a trans-like state in the sound of his flute.

Gita tells us that Prince Arjuna lost all confidence to fight his enemies in Kurukshetra and hopelessly turns to Krishna for help:

“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition, I am asking you to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered on to you. Please instruct me.”

(BG 2:7) (Swami Prabhupada, 1983)

Krishna (Mohna) quickly convinces Arjuna not to give up. The Mohna gently tells Arjuna to “Focus on the inner self and become free from anxiety” in chapter two of Bhagavad Gita. The details on how the Mohna reads the words of Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna can be found in the good book. However, the evidence of hypnotism is clearly found in the Gita, and Arjuna gained back his confidence to return to the Kurukshetra battle after the dialogue between him and Krishna. Remember that Arjuna surrendered to Krishna as his disciple and allowed Krishna to be in a place of authority that enabled him to put suggestions in Arjun’s mind.

Krishna uses visualization and imagery to help Arjuna see the future and why he should regain confidence and fight. Krishna also gives him confidence that he is capable of the mammoth task. In chapter 11, Krishna appears in his Vishwaroop (universal form) to Arjuna and puts suggestion in his mind:

See now my opulence, hundreds of thousands of my divine forms.

(BG 11:5)

Later Krishna suggests

But you cannot see me with your present eyes; therefore, I give you divine eyes.

He then explains the present and the future with the visual imagery to Arjun. He helps Arjuna to see the future and convinces him to fight his enemies as they were already…

have already been destroyed by him

(BG 11:33-34)

Both western and Indian scholars suggest that Lord Krishna used a creative visualization technique to make Arjuna believe or see that his enemies were already destroyed. He just needed to get up and complete the must-do tasks.

Arjuna, by the end of this visualization technique, starts to feel agitated; hence Krishna returns to his original form:

You have been perturbed and bewildered… Now let it be finished… With a peaceful mind, you can now see the form you desire.

(BG 11:49)

Arjuna then says

 “Seeing your original form, I am now composed in mind, and I am now restored to my original nature”.

(BG 11:51)

The scholars state that according to the above dialogues, Arjuna was in an altered state of consciousness, a characteristic of trans-like state in which Krishna performed the visualization technique to show him the forms of present and future and imbedded a set of belief in him. Krishna put the required suggestions in his mind, and when it was enough for Arjuna to receive and process, Krishna brought him back from the state of altered consciousness. Krishna did not offer anything real that Arjuna could hold on to, yet he could hold on to everything Krishna gave him because the Mohna could change something in his mind.

There are four primary texts in Hinduism, and the Atharvaveda (knowledge) refers to the techniques of sammohana (hypnotism) performed by a Mohna (Hypnotist).

Touching you with these two hands and ten fingers, by my influential speech, I speak to you, disease removing words. By this, you will get healthy, and all your diseases will vanish.

(Atharvaveda 4:13:7) (Max-Muller and Bloomfield, 2004)

Today in many Indian languages, the word Mohini refers to an enchanting woman, and there is even a famous sweet in Bengal named the Mohanbhog, all referring to the altered state of mind.

Yoga is a popular form of exercise in the western world today; however, the culture of yoga goes back to the Vedic era. The Vedic era worked on Yogi Veda (Yoga science), also known as the Pran Vidya or Trikal Vidya, and was in its pick in the Aryan era (1500-500BC). The Yogi (one who practices yoga) used self-hypnosis or sammohana to enter a trans-like state. The yogis came up with many natural remedies for health and addiction concerns and mental health issues that are developed due to social and economic factors. Note that the class system, monetary exchanges, and financial status were also arising in this era. The Yogi prescriptions are still used though often in distorted versions, and the yogi culture is often seen through the eyes of the popular media. Hence we tend to associate these practices with magic and fraudulence, and the Yogis are seen as weird people or charlatans. They are also associated with negativity in a few religious communities, and these religious discourses often detach the Yogi culture from religious practices. Realistically, a Preacher when preaches or helps on a one-to-one basis also works with the altered state of mind and offers help and confidence to the congregation. We often hear people of faith saying how they feel rejuvenated after attending the Sunday preaching.

There is a debatable theory of Jesus Christ learning from Ancient India. Jesus leaves home, and he doesn’t return until in his thirties. Historians don’t know where he was during this period. There are many popular theories based on physical evidence, texts, and told stories that Christ was in India at around this time. Traveling to India from Israel was not impossible, and it is also not an impossible thought for a philosopher and an activist to travel and learn from ancient scholars. Jesus gave people hope and made them believe they were physically and mentally equipped to establish their belief even though his disciples were not economically powerful and were under the threat of the Roman Empire. It is possible that he was working with the altered state of mind, which is still used by the preachers for good purposes. Hence the Yogi culture is not something we are not able to understand or practice. Aatm Sammohon (self- Hypnosis) used by the Yogis can also be used as a DIY kit to deal with anxiety and depression, and it doesn’t have to contradict our religious or scientific beliefs.

The Vedic era (1500-500 BC) is the late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. Therefore, it seems the history of Hypnotism goes back to the late Bronze Age, and it was practised during the Iron Age. As we cannot translate the pictorial scripts of the Indus civilisation, we cannot imagine if they used such techniques although they seemed to be highly civilised.

The Vedic texts refer to sea voyages, and the Vedas were traders. Therefore, it is possible that the Vedic philosophies and ideas traveled with them, and the studies and practices of Sammohona were introduced to different cultures. Remember that the Vedas were Indo-Europeans and originally were nomads, hence connecting with other cultures was probably not very hard for them.


Archaeological evidence tells the presence of Hinduism in Medieval East-Asia, and the Yogi Veda techniques have been used from ancient times in modern China. The concept of hypnotism traveled to East Asia and China and developed an understanding of the two states of mind and how to use hypnotism to improve patient care.

Shen Nung, the emperor of China in 2700 BC, wrote a medical treatise in which incantations are mentioned. When studied, the scholars interpreted that this mention was a form of hypnosis. Wang Tai, known as the father of Chinese medicine, lived around 2600 BC and wrote extensively about incantations and mysterious passes over the patient. Chinese philosophy and medicine shared a common text, and some of the earliest treatments such as acupuncture (3000 BC) use a level of hypnosis for the patient to relax. The ancient medical treatments are known as the traditional Chinese treatments today, and suggesting the patient shut out from the current world and focusing on the right place is evident in most of these treatments, including massage and beauty therapy techniques. 

Persia and Sumeria

The Aryan tribe moved to Persia in 3000 BC, and they referred to themselves as the Aryana people (or the Iranian) at a later stage. They were Eurasians, later Indo-Iranians, and their religious work was known as the Avesta, and they were interested in the study of dualism. These thoughts would take forms in the Vedic civilization.

The Sumerians traded with the Indus civilization and connected with the Aryans and knew their way to India, to the Vedas. The Sumerians bought goods from Afghanistan such as the Lapis Lazuli and sold them to the Egyptians. Therefore, it can be imagined that culture and knowledge were being shared even in the ancient world.

Evidence of Hypnotism is also found in the Sumerian civilization situated in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and in ancient Persia (Iran). The Persian physician and psychologist, Avicenna (980-1037 AD), was the earliest researcher to make a distinction between sleep and the hypnotic state based on the studies of these ancient practices.    

Central Asia, Hebrew or Jewish culture

Kabbalah the mind control technique that dates back before the world religions have been helping the Hebrews to cope with the difficulties of the world and believe they are able to make a better one. Source:

The Hebrew culture (1500 BCE-present), also can be referred to as the Jewish culture, has a set of esoteric techniques to explain the relationship between the existence and the unknown, called Kabbalah. Historians believe that its origin pre-dates world religions, born in central Asia and emerged in the 12th century in Spain and France. Kabbalah doesn’t focus on doctrines; it helps to gain self-awareness that gives the practitioner full control over one’s soul and one’s predispositions (D Reiser; Hypnosis and Jewish Mystics; The Hebrew University;2015). Thus Kabbalah is used to maintain the principles of Jewish faith whilst dealing with the world. However, Kabbalah itself is not a religion or a part of the Jewish principles. Kabbalah uses a guided imagery technique, and these techniques were adopted and improvised by different Rabbis to work with their current societies. The Hasidic Jewish rabbis worked with Kabbalah. Rabbi Menachem Ekstein (1884-1942) of Austria explains the imagery technique in Tena’ei HaNefesh LeHasagat HeHasidut (Mental Conditions for Achieving Hasidism)

The first principle Hasidism tells that the entire knock at its gates and wish to enter its inner chambers is: Know thyself […], to rise all-natural tendencies of your soul, and become very familiar with them. Split yourself into two: a natural human being, who dwells down on earth, live daily life and is affected by all outside events, and a supernal person, who is not drawn by the outside events and is not affected by them but sits up in his own palace, in a high tower, always looks down at the lower person and sees all the things that are befalling him and all the actions that are drawn from them onto his soul. He [the supernal person] gazes at all these and recognizes them; he examines them and is able to direct them and use them as he wishes.

(Cited on Reiser:2015)

The above principle in the Hasidic culture was adopted from the Kabbalah tradition. There is an echo of dualism in the Aryan Avesta tradition and the visual technique Krishna used on Arjuna. 

Christian Tradition

The early Christians (100 to 500 AD) practiced hypnotism as a healing and teaching tool. Hypnosis, the trans-like state, was a form of meditation in the Christian tradition and is still being used by the Roman Catholic Church and in some sectors of the Church of England. Paul speaks of going to a trance while praying in the temple:

Peter fell into a trance and from that experience came to see that God loved all people and accepts all people who came to him.

(Bible; Acts 22:17)

Paul cured patients by laying his hand on them and praying, and people would be healed by gazing at his eyes. These are powerful acts of working on the alternative state of mind of the patients. It was taught that with the understanding of the holy trinity, one could bridge the gap between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious state is logical and practical, but the subconscious mind doesn’t care about the physical state but cares for the deepest desires. The subconscious doesn’t care about the pain or difficulties. Therefore, if an action or decision fulfills the innermost desires, the subconscious will proceed even if it means temporary pain for the physical existence. The study of dualism has been explored throughout the Christian culture and practiced in different denominations.  

The early saints traveled from Central Asia to Europe via Turkey and brought their Christian mysticism, which is still evident in Central Asia.

Many scholars believe that Jesus meditated and practiced mysticism. Mysticism is about having a direct experience with the divine. The Yogis use mysticism with the same agenda, and mysticism has been practiced from the ancient era to the present day in Persia. Mysticism works with the alternative mind, and a mystic can put suggestions in its own mind.

Connecting with the divine means having the power over own emotion, thus less suffering. Self-hypnosis and mysticism was about having full control over self and the physical world.


Historians tell us that the ancient Egyptians were highly sophisticated with medical health and understood human biology. Furthermore, they were in touch with the emotional conditions of the human being and paid medical attention to the mind. They had healing sanctuaries where people would go to deal with the problems of the mind, the problems that would be called psychological issues today. These healing sanctuaries are called “Sleep Temples”. The sick person would be put into a trance-like state; the priests or the priestesses would translate the ill person’s dream to understand the deeper emotional issues. Unfortunately, the “Sleep Temple” practices are often associated with magic in the popular culture, and the ancient Egyptian priests and priestesses are seen as sorcerers who tricked primitive people into gaining power. The false concept goes back to the middle ages when the Temple practices were associated with witchcraft, and the blockbuster movies often reflect upon those concepts. The ancient “Sleep Temple” methods were based on “Mind Study”; the ancient people perhaps felt thrilled to feel free of the mental health issues they were suffering from and saw priests as Godly but then again that kind of emotions still take us over when a doctor helps us out with a severe health issue.

The “Sleep Temple” techniques would only be handed down to a selected number of people with potentials. These techniques were temple secrets. The apprentices would learn for many years and would be the high Priests’ assistants, meanwhile. Naturally, the ordinary folks saw them as supernatural beings; today, they would be simply doctors and student doctors.

The Ancient Egyptians were aware of the subconscious mind. The “Sleep Temples” did not have any windows for the air to escape. The chambers would be heavily perfumed with scents and candles. Once the person was ready to submit, usually in about three to four minutes, repetitive chanting and humming would begin so the patient would go into a trance-like state. With their eyes closed, the patient would listen to the priests’ instructions. The patient would narrate the dream under the instructions, which were usually a set of commands.

Hypnosis techniques are rooted in Imhotep, the Physician Vizier to Pharaoh, who laid the foundation of the medical profession over 4500 years ago. Source:

The “Sleep Temple” therapy tradition dates back to Imhotep in the late 27 century BC. Imhotep was the chancellor to the Pharaoh Zoser (Djoser) (2650-2590 BC), was the high priest, the physician vizier, and was the only commoner to be in such a position. Imhotep built the first pyramid (the step pyramid), and the Egyptians dedicated the “Sleep Temples” to him. He used the “Sleep Temple” as a psychotherapeutic tool, and the people would attend his temple for psychological help. Under the performance of religious rituals and incantations, he would prepare them psychologically to receive suggestion therapy.  This was interpreted as “casting of the bad spirit”. Remember that the man who designed the first Pyramid had to have a logical and mathematical mind; hence his practices in medicine and mind study also had to have a rational approach.

Today the shrine sleep culture is still found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. The culture of incense sticks and heavily perfuming the air is still noticeable in these countries. RC, COE, and Eastern Churches use them as part of a meditative atmosphere. The “Sleep Temple” practice moved to Greece via Greek occupation in Egypt in 332 BC. 

The Greek Empire

The Greeks built the temples of Aesculapius in the 4th and 5th century BC. Aesculapius is the Greek-Roman God who learned the art of healing from the centaur Chiron. In his honor, the temples were dedicated to healing dreams. Aesculapius’s daughters were Hygea and Panacea. The Kline, a piece of furniture between a stool and a hospital bed, was the sacred place inside the temple. A Kline could also be the sacred cover or skin on the furniture. The patients would recline on it at the dream stage. The modern words Panacea, meaning remedy, Hygiene, and Clinic have derived from the names Panacea, Hygea, and the word Kline.  Archaeologists found 420 “Sleep Temples” across the Greek empire.  Following the Egyptians, the Greeks would also practice chanting and put the patients into a trans-like state, and translate their dreams.

Patients would tell their dreams in the sacred Kline in the “Sleep Temples” in 400 BC. Source: 

The patients would be given time in the trans-like state to prepare themselves to narrate. This was called the incubation period. The word derives from the Latin words In, meaning On, and cubare, meaning lie down. This resonates with the modern image of a patient lying on the sofa whilst the psychologist is writing notes.

The patient could be in the incubation period for three days, and the priest would put suggestions on the patient around this time to make “better contact with the God/Gods”. The people who wanted mental healing were called seekers, and understandably, the seekers saw these temples as mysterious places with spirits and powers where they would be mentally healed and also found physical healing via the hypnotic suggestions.

Legends say that the people had miraculous physical healing as well as mental healing in these temples. We do not know if the lame actually walked, but we know the priests also practiced medicines; therefore, the “Sleep Temples” used a combination of hypnosis and medical treatments for illnesses. Some practitioners offered advice on how to seek interpretations of dreams. The seekers could not just enter the temple; they would have to wait and learn how to purify the mind and body before entering the sanctuaries. Think about the head administrator and the nurses in modern surgeries who advise patients before going to the doctor. It is easy to find the links between the modern working systems with the ancient Greek administration.

When ready, the patients would be finally able to walk through the path leading to the temple paved with marbles.  These are part of a program to prepare the seekers to receive suggestions.

It was understood that the dreams contained the seeds of their own healing, and the priest’s job was to elicit the vision (of God) and help interpret the dreams so the patient could reflect on his own life and make meanings. This method is somewhat the suggestion therapy. Interpreting the dreams and speaking with the patients, the priests would prescribe medicines that would physically heal them. There was an aftercare service on which the practitioners would review the healings, monitor developments, and advise. The modern hospital, doctor, and medicine administration have developed from the “Sleep Temple” administration that practiced about 3000 years ago in the ancient Greek empire.

Aristotle believed the unconscious mind is able to see signs of illnesses. Source jlorenz1

Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) believed the dream was a message from the unconscious mind, and the dreamer unconsciously recognizes signs of ailments. Hypnosis could suggest these dreams to occur, sometimes waking dreams or daydreams, and the usage of metaphors and imageries could induce mental and physical healings.

The practical healing techniques were understood as a supernatural phenomenon by the citizens. It is neither to be surprised of nor to be made fun of. In the present world, with so much information a click away, we are still not aware of many things because we are busy with our daily lives. Hence we pay experts to help us with all kinds of problems. An ordinary citizen in the ancient world could only explain such medical healing with mythologies and magic.

One can easily imagine that having the patients holding on to these beliefs made the medical profession much easier for the priests. Unfortunately, this combination of mythologies, magic, and mysteries to explain mental health healing created a false image, and we often miss the fact that the “Sleep Temples” were not the places for the primitive people playing voodoo magic. They were learners, researchers, educators; they understood mind science; they were aware of mental health issues, therapies, and remedies.

The Roman Empire and all the way to England

The Lydney Temple complex was excavated in Gloucestershire, UK. The Romans brought the “Sleep Temple” to England in 43 AD. Source:

The Roman Empire adopted the “Sleep Temple” and dedicated it to their God Apollo. They invaded England in 43 AD and brought the “Sleep Temple” with them. Archaeological finds have identified the “Sleep Temple” in the county of Gloucestershire. The Lydney Temple complex was excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1928, and his assistant Professor J.R.R. Tolkein wrote, “…Maybe today’s hypnotherapists consulting rooms can be viewed as the modern equivalent of the Sleep Temples, the couch of a Kline. But remember ‘leave the healing god stuff to a higher being’” (Cited on Hypnosis and Civilisation; Cuyamungue Institute).

Now that we have traveled a little, we can see how hypnosis studies have been learned and shared through ancient Asia, Africa, Southern, and Western Europe, and we have found out the roots of the modern mental health clinics. Each civilization formed its own methods based on their studies and perhaps suited for their societies. And these hypnotherapists were not magicians and charlatans but often got mixed up with the sorcerers and voodoo doctors, and all were classified as one. The ancient mass public was not well aware of biological and mental health. Education was not available to all, and it was very easy to mix science with mythical ideas.  Perhaps it was easier for the medical practitioners to retain these concepts to practice without disturbances. Religious grounds are a safe place; hence both physical and mental health treatments occur in religious settings. It probably would not make any meaning to people in the ancient world if the hospital and the temple were separated.   

Next, we shall look into the hypnosis culture in the medieval era and the modern movements in hypnotherapy.

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Shanta Sultana
I have worked for social services encouraging clients to receive training and educational qualifications towards personal development. I studied at Southampton City College and received the “Best Student Achievement Award”. I studied Journalism at the University of East London and did part of my final year with the University of Greenwich. I received the award for “Outstanding Achieving” for writing the best theory for creating a fair society. I focused on social and political issues as a Journalist and wrote about the topics that are affecting the communities in England for three years, especially in health and social care and worked with the politicians. I have worked with the Lambeth community and collected the users’ experience in health care and mental health services for an umbrella organisation of Age UK. I then completed a PGCE/PCET, Teachers training with ESOL, Invisible disabilities, mental health, and the refugee reintegration from the University of Sunderland. My working route was on generating continuous educational opportunities, journals, and media programmes to overcome social and cultural prejudice and division and improve productivity by celebrating differences. I have worked in the mental health department and I work with special needs children and adults. I have published articles and stories in UK and USA and promoted organisations and personalities in Arts and trades in the UK and in South Asian countries.