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The Use of Hypnosis to Replace General Anesthesia

Today hypnosis is widely used by psychotherapists, psychologists and other clinicians in western medicine to treat a range of conditions. But there are those in the medical field who believe its full potential has yet to be fulfilled and that it could be employed more widely in the operating theater instead of general anesthesia.

Looking back over the centuries and across different cultures, the use of hypnosis, mesmerism and trance-like states in medicine is well documented. Hypnosis has been used for pain relief since the 1840s when Scottish surgeon James Esdaile employed his own form of mesmerism with success during major operations, according to Dr. Carol Ginandes, clinical health psychologist and Ph.D. assistant professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

However, with the discovery of ether and chloroform later in the decade, it was side-lined as a medical tool. Dr. Ginandes said:

“Hypnosis is not integrated into the medical milieu and yet there are many studies that show it can be used in lots of situations adjunctively to great advantage. It could be employed in some situations, with certain individuals, who have the capacity and have been prepared in the right way, instead of general anesthesia. The advantages are numerous: general anesthesia is a tremendous stressor on the human body, and i