Hypnosis has been used for literally thousands of years; there is evidence of this from Hindu Vedas and ancient Egyptian text. It seems the original uses of hypnosis were for healing and spiritual or religious functions such as divination and communicating with spirits.
More recently in the 18th century, Franz Mesmer (mesmerized) is the first to be given credit for proposing a rational basis for the effectiveness of hypnosis. Mesmer is also given credit for being the first to develop a consistent method for inducing a hypnotic state.
Later still, the 19th century saw physicians John Elliotson and James Esdaille pioneer the use of hypnosis in the medical field even at great risk to their reputations as hypnosis was often looked upon as “witchery” or “pure balderdash”.
During the same time period researcher James Braid began to prove there was some merit to the physical and biological aspects of hypnosis and so thanks to these three men by the end of the 19th century hypnosis had begun to be accepted as a valid clinical technique. Further research and use of hypnosis had begun to be developed at some of the most well know universities and hospitals of the period.
The debate of was hypnosis a valid clinical tool continued on into the 20th century when it began to be delved into in The united States and put into practical use by therapists such as the likes of Milton H. Erickson. Further still, British psychologists Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell linked hypnosis to the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) leading to advances in neurological science and brain imaging.