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On the one hand, a history of hypnosis is a bit like a history of breathing.
Like breathing, hypnosis is an inherent and universal trait, shared and experienced by all human beings since the dawn of time.
Mesmer was the first to propose a rational basis for the effects of hypnosis.
Although we now know that his notion of “animal magnetism”, transferred from healer to patient through a mysterious etheric fluid, is hopelessly wrong, it was firmly based on scientific ideas current at the time, in particular Isaac Newton’s theories of gravitation.
Thanks to their persistence and efforts, by the end of the century hypnosis was accepted as a valid clinical technique, studied and applied in the great universities and hospitals of the day.