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What is Somnambulism and Who Discovered it?

What is Somnambulism and Who Discovered it?

What is Somnambulism and Who Discovered it?

When we speak of deep states of hypnosis, we often come across the word somnambulism which relates to a state of mind where truly unique hypnotic phenomena can be achieved.  

This state can cause profound physical and mental relaxation, enhanced memory recall, positive and/or negative hallucinations, powerful catalepsies, and remarkable abilities at pain control.  

However, when was this phenomenon first discovered and how does it relate to the modern work in hypnosis that we do today.  Click here to read more…

Enter Marquis de Puysegur

During the time of Franz Anton Mesmer’s pioneering work with altered states, a student of his named the Marquis de Puysegur became very well known in the field. Marquis became relatively famous for the group sessions which often occurred underneath supposedly magnetized trees.  

The idea was that the animal magnetic fluid could be transferred to physical objects and that those objects had healing powers.  Mesmer himself believed this and many early Mesmerists were magnetizing glass, iron, tubs of water with iron filings, and even dogs.  

The trees became very popular because many people could gather around to receive the healings that were thought to occur. Marquis was a major proponent of this work and many gathered to receive healing through his methods.

Enter Victor Race

Victor was a gifted trance subject. Marquis enjoyed putting him into the altered state and utilizing his skills.  Victor was supposedly quite psychic when he was in an altered state.  

Marquis could offer him commands and Victor would follow. It was as if Victor was walking in a sort of sleep state, where he became very suggestible and very intuitive about the nature of other people’s ailments.  

Marquis himself called Victor a Somnambule, which comes from the French word for Sleepwalker.  While not necessarily truly asleep, a somnambulist often does not remember their time in this state and those around them clearly know that something is different.  

Somnambulists of the time claimed all sorts of healing and psychic abilities.  However, with the discreditation of Mesmerism, these early somnambulists were not well-respected by mainstream scientific or medical authorities.

What then is Somnambulism?

In modern-day hypnotism, we understand the somnambulistic state to be one of heightened awareness and heightened responsiveness to suggestion.  Dave Elman, a major pioneer in our field, considered the state to be one of profound physical and mental relaxation, however one can be in a somnambulistic state and not be relaxed at all.  

It is, therefore, best to understand the state by measuring one’s responsiveness to suggestion for anyone of the following:

  • Relaxation
  • Pain Control
  • Ability to Hallucinate
  • Catalepsy
  • Amnesia

By putting someone into this deep state of hypnosis, we can measure their response to suggestions to truly know that they are in an acceptable altered state to accomplish their goals.  

For instance, if someone wanted to undergo surgery using hypnosis, then the hypnotist could test for the somnambulistic state and once it is achieved, then suggestions for pain relief, relaxation, confidence, and accelerated healing could be offered. In the somnambulistic state, the hypnotist could feel much more confident in his/her ability to get the client to his/her goals.

There is obviously a lot more to learn about the fascinating state of somnambulism and we have created a 500+ hour state-licensed hypnotherapy training to do just that and so much more.  To begin your journey, visit us at www.InstituteofHypnotherapy.com or give us a call at 800-551-9247.