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Celebrating Scot James Braid who became known as ‘Father of Hypnosis’

James Braid

JANUARY 4 is World Hypnotism Day, which exists to raise awareness of the benefits of hypnotism. There are still many misconceptions around hypnosis, and many people will not be aware of the prominent role a Scot played in the development of what we now know as hypnotherapy.

James Braid may be a name known among Scottish golfers. However, there was another James Braid, born in Kinross-shire in 1775, who went on to be known as the “Father of Hypnosis”. Braid was educated under the Leith surgeons Thomas and Charles Anderson and at the University of Edinburgh.

Braid went on to work in Lanarkshire and Dumfries, and later Manchester, where he gained a reputation as a talented surgeon, correcting deformities such as spinal curvature and club foot. It is thought that it was while he was in Manchester that he first became interested in what we call now hypnosis.

Braid attended the Manchester Athenaeum in 1841 and watched a performance of animal magnetism by the French mesmerist demonstrator Charles Lafontaine, where he put audience members into a trance-like state. Mesmerism was named after the German doctor Franz Mesmer, who considered that this animal magnetism was an invisible natural force and could by induced by trance.

Read full article by Stephen McMurray in The National