This article is about the development of concepts, beliefs and practices related to hypnosis and hypnotherapy from prehistoric to modern times. Although often viewed as one continuous history, it is important to note that the term "hypnosis" only gained widespread use after James Braid coined the term "hypnotism" in 1841. Braid introduced the term to contrast his approach with those of the Mesmerists who preceded him. Hence, the use of the expression "hypnosis" or "hypnotism" to describe the practices of Mesmerism or practices before 1841 is potentially figurative or speculative.

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