My name is Dr Paul Ogilvie. I live and work in the UK. I have been working as a medical doctor since 1994. I have these qualifications: MBChB MRCGP DCH MRCOG DFFP HPD DipH PTFT PNLP.

I have worked in various hospitals in the UK. I have also worked, as a doctor, in Australia for 3 years. I currently work as a GP (family doctor).

I’ve done a few marathons and triathlons in the past. I particularly like trail running and cycling. I like to keep fit as best as I can.

I like to use complementary therapies, like mindfulness and hypnosis, to help people make their lives better in some way.

This website is about helping you to sleep better, to eat healthy food, to lose weight, to exercise, to build your confidence and self-esteem, and to reduce stress and anxiety.

It is about letting go of bad habits, and unwanted patterns of thoughts and feelings. It is about developing good habits, and more healthy ways of thinking and feeling.

It is about being free of things, in your mind, that hold you back.

Hypnotherapy = relaxation effect + suggestion.

Mindfulness or meditation = relaxation effect + non-attachment.

The terms hypnosis and hypnotherapy are often used to mean the same thing. Technically, hypnosis is a state of mind, whereas hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for a therapeutic intent.

The term hypnosis was coined by a Scottish doctor called James Braid (1795-1860). It comes from the Greek word “hypnos” meaning sleep. But hypnosis is not the same as sleep. Dr James Braid realised this, and later tried to change the name, but unfortunately the name stuck and its use has persisted to this day. Dr James Braid published his findings in Neurypnology (1843), arguably the first book on hypnosis.

The British Medical Association BMA and the American Medical Association AMA, researched the use of hypnosis in the 1950s. They concluded it was a safe and an effective technique. They advised it should be taught to medical students. However, their conclusions and advice have been ignored.

Typically, hypnosis is described as a natural, relaxed, altered state of consciousness and focused inner attention.

Some examples of hypnotic experiences include:

  • Deep relaxation.
  • Being completely absorbed in watching a movie or reading a book.
  • Being in the “zone” when exercising/training/performing.
  • When you are daydreaming.

When your mind is relaxed, your critical/analytical parts of your mind are less active, and your mind is more open to suggestions, particularly suggestions which you want to take on board.

During this relaxed hypnotic state, your subconscious mind is more open to suggestions, to help you, make positive changes in your life.

In summary, hypnosis is a natural, relaxed, safe, focused, state of consciousness. It is a natural and useful technique. You can use it to change unwanted habits and thought patterns, to help make your life better.

The use of hypnosis, in its general sense, is found in virtually every culture across the world. It most likely stretches back into ancient history. For example, hieroglyphics found on Egyptian tombs, believed to be from 3000bc, depict the use of hypnosis in religious rites and surgical procedures. Ancient Greeks were known to have used hypnosis for surgical preparation as well as for hypno-healing. Hypnosis has also been used by Hindu Fakirs, native medicine men, witch doctors, and shamans.

Unfortunately, the pioneers of hypnosis have done little to de-mystify it. Instead they have jealously guarded their ‘special gift’ and often linked it with religion and thus instilled an aura of supernatural power in themselves.

Franz Anton Mesmer 1734 – 1815 was one of the first to offer an explanation of what he was doing other than claiming some mystical powers. Mesmer believed that an invisible magnetic fluid was to be found throughout nature and within every human body. He claimed that magnets could restore the balance of magnetic fluid and thus cure the sick. Mesmer chanted and used an eye fixation method to induce a hypnotic trance. Notable physicians and religious authorities denounced Mesmer as a fraud. Both Mesmer and later De Peysegur’s work implied that the magnetiser or hypnotist had some power which, he could call at will, to effect a cure. This incorrect idea is probably partly responsible for the fear and misunderstanding which surrounds hypnosis to this day.

The modern scientific understanding of hypnosis originates with the pioneering work of a Scottish doctor named Dr James Braid (1795-1860). Having watched a stage performance of magnetism, he came to the conclusion that it was entirely a hoax. He categorically rejected any supernatural explanations of trance and grounded the study of hypnosis on a firm empirical and scientific basis. He coined the term hypnosis based on the Greek ‘hypnos’ meaning sleep. This is an unfortunate term, as hypnosis is not the same as sleep. Having realised this, he later tried to change the term hypnosis, but unfortunately the term stuck and its use persisted. He published his findings in Neurypnology (1843), arguably the first book on ‘hypnosis’

Dr John Elliotson (1791-1868), a London physician performed over one thousand painless operations using hypnosis. This was much to the wrath of his fellow doctors. Despite’s Elliotson’s low mortality rate and high success rate, his fellow doctors believed that pain was necessary for healing, and eventually the medical profession closed ranks and virtually forced him out of hospital practice.

A Scottish doctor Dr James Esdaile (1808-1859) used hypnosis whilst chief surgeon of a hospital in Calcutta, India. He used it in over 3000 operations and noted it produced insensitivity to pain. Also, the mortality rate during operations dropped from the normal rate at that time of 25-50% down to 5%. His work was widely accepted and even revered in India whilst the British Medical Association stated that it was probably so successful in India because it was likely to be accepted by the masses there, and would be unlikely to work in England. When Esdaile returned to England he was unable to repeat the successes he achieved in India. He put this down to lack of belief and negative expectation. He was accused of being a charlatan and eventually was discredited and demoralised.

Doctors Hippolyte Bernheim and Auguste Ambrose Liebault formed the Nancy school of hypnosis 1837–1919. They were French doctors who helped to demystify hypnosis and create an understanding of it as a normal state. They stated that hypnosis was not caused by any mechanical means but by suggestion. Bernheim published his book ‘De La Suggestion’ that proposed suggestion as a cure for the mind and body.

Dr Jean-Martin Charcot’s 1825–1893 principal contribution to the history of hypnosis was in identifying and labelling varying depths of trance. This was the first recorded attempt at scientific classification. Charcot was widely recognised throughout the medical world for his expertise in neurology. Since he had a belief in the use of hypnosis, it also became accepted by many doctors.

Doctor Sigmund Freud 1856-1939 initially used hypnosis to release the emotions of patients whilst they were in a trance state. In 1895 Freud co-authored his famous book “Studien uber Hysterie” with Joseph Breuer, master hypnotist. Breuer discovered he could address patients directly whilst they were in hypnosis which led to the basis of modern day hypnoanalysis and psychoanalysis. Freud found Breuer’s work invaluable, and soon led him to develop the art of psychoanalysis. Freud was unfortunately quite poor at inducing hypnosis and eventually discontinued its use altogether, instead simply using free association in a wide awake state.

During the second world war hypnosis was used in some prisoner-of-war hospitals. They used hypnosis as a substitute for chemical anaesthesia and as a form of pain relief. They were delighted to find that hypnosis worked well and healing took place more rapidly. After the war, reports of these events became available to the medical profession and some doctors began applying hypnosis in many fields including dentistry, obstetrics, dermatology and pain relief.

A number of notable American hypnotists including Ormond McGill and Dave Elman helped this upswing in the use of hypnosis. Dave Elman, around the mid 20th century, taught hypnosis exclusively to many hundreds of doctors across the United States.

The American Medical Association AMA in 1958 approved a report on medical use of hypnosis and encouraged more research. The British Medical Association in 1892 and 1955, endorsed the therapeutic use of hypnosis, and advised all physicians and medical students should receive training in hypnosis. Unfortunately, that advice, that has been largely ignored.

Probably one of the most well known contributors to the science of hypnosis in the 20th century was an American psychiatrist, Dr Milton Erickson. One of Erickson’s most notable achievements was the use of a very naturalistic approach to both the induction of hypnosis and the effecting of cures through it. A whole field of indirect suggestion using the power of metaphor was conceived. Erickson was a master of symbolic story telling and his techniques have been studied, modelled, and adapted by many of the recent and present day leading figures in hypnosis.


This is a very common mis-conception and fear about hypnosis. It is false.

Nobody can suggest you do anything you don’t want to do, even in a relaxed hypnotic state.

During hypnosis you are in control at all times. At anytime time you want to, you can come out of hypnosis, and that’s fine and perfectly safe to do.

Hypnosis is a safe, and a natural technique.  

The warning against using hypnosis if you suffer with epilepsy, comes from the fear there may be a slight increased risk of a seizure during hypnosis. I cannot find any useful evidence in this respect. However there is a risk you could have a seizure at any time, and that time might just happen to be when you are listening to a hypnosis session, but it was not the hypnosis session that caused it. I find it hard to believe the relaxation effect increases the risk of a seizure, because then having a massage, or simple relaxation breathing exercises, or meditation or mindfulness would have to be avoid in people with epilepsy, and this is not the case. Also, there has been some effort in using hypnosis as a way of reducing seizures in some people with epilepsy.

Anyway, in general, if you do suffer with epilepsy and you want to use hypnosis, it would be very reasonable to contact your doctor to ask for their advice.

It is advisable, and good medical practice, to let your doctor know if you are using hypnosis and you have a significant mental health problem.

In general, it should be fine, and I cannot see where any harm might come from using hypnosis.

From my hypnotherapy sessions released in 2011, I did advised not to use hypnosis, in the disclaimer at the start of the session, if you suffer with a significant mental health problem. I have since searched for any evidence that hypnosis can cause harm in someone with a mental health problem, and I have not found any evidence for this. So, I have changed my mind in this respect.

However, if there is any doubt, or any condition requiring active medical treatment, then you should let your doctor know, and discuss the use of hypnosis with your doctor.

Meditation is non-attachment..

It is not being attached to any thoughts, nor any states (even the state of relaxation or calmness), nor any processes, even the processes of getting into a meditative state like focusing on your breathing, or doing a more physical approach like yoga. It is not being attached to any of that, nor anything else.

It is observing your thoughts, just as they are, and not judging, nor acting on them in anyway.

Mindfulness is meditation.

It is living in the present moment, just as it is. It is being witness to the present moment, without reacting to it, nor judging it.

It is being aware of your stream of consciousness, and conscious experience, in the present moment, and not being attached to it.

Mindfulness has become more widely accepted in recent years.

This has been helped by Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others, who have done a lot of work in this area, and produced clinical evidence that mindfulness can be helpful in a variety of conditions, such as stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain. 

The music composer is Annie Brunson, and the title of the track is called “Ananda”.

I particularly like this piece of music, both from a personal point of view, and also from the point of view that the tempo of the track slows down as the track progresses. This helps take you into a deeper, more relaxed, state of mind.

You can find more information on Annie Brunson here.

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