My father is an anesthetist, which means he puts people to sleep for their surgical operations.
We have been using anesthetics for surgery, childbirth etc since ether was recognized for this purpose back in the mid 1800’s. There are now about a dozen main general anesthetic agents, Nitrous oxide ie Laughing gas, Halothane, various forms of ethers and so on.
Millions of people go off to sleep each year, have their treatment, and wake up afterwards, and here is the kicker…
We have no idea how it happened!
Theories are all over the place, but it’s still guesswork as to how they did their job.
But time and time and time and again they do!
Go back and re-read the last 4 sentences, but substitute hypnosis for anesthetics. It is the same.
The theories for hypnosis are equally as poor, and in dispute, as those for anaesthetics. It’s hard to even define what hypnosis is in the first place.
Both hypnosis and anesthesia have been extensively applied, and heavily researched and studied.
Let me give you a third item that is even more basic.
Going to sleep.
We don’t even know how to explain what sleep is, or how we go from being awake to drifting off and falling asleep.
So consider this… What hope does a new or uncommon treatment have of being studied and actually understood, when we have so little ability to understand what we are already using?
Does that mean we throw away something because we don’t know HOW it works?
Well I’m very pleased to know general anesthetics are around if I need an operation, and my wife wouldn’t wish to have had her third child without hypnosis beforehand.
Personally we’re not going to wait until scientific knowledge catches up.
-Dr Martin Russell