James Braid (surgeon)

James Braid (19 June 1795 – 25 March 1860) was a Scottish surgeon, natural philosopher, and "gentleman scientist".

James Braid
Born(1795-06-19)19 June 1795
Died25 March 1860(1860-03-25) (aged 64)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
Known for
Scientific career
Fields
Institutions
InfluencesThomas Brown, Charles Lafontaine
Influenced

He was a significant innovator in the treatment of clubfoot, spinal curvature, knock-knees, bandy legs, and squint;[1] a significant pioneer of hypnotism and hypnotherapy,[2] and an important and influential pioneer in the adoption of both hypnotic anaesthesia and chemical anaesthesia.[3] He is regarded by some, such as Kroger (2008, p. 3), as the "Father of Modern Hypnotism";[4] however, in relation to the issue of there being significant connections between Braid's "hypnotism" and "modern hypnotism" (as practised), let alone "identity", Weitzenhoffer (2000, p. 3) urges the utmost caution in making any such assumption:

It has been a basic assumption of modern (i.e., twentieth century) hypnotism that it is founded on the same phenomenology it historically evolved from. Such differences as exist between older versions of hypnotism and newer ones being reduced largely to a matter of interpretation of the facts. That there are common elements is not in question, but that there is full identity in questionable and basically untestable. – Weitzenhoffer (2000, p. 3; emphasis added).

Also, in relation to the clinical application of "hypnotism",

Although Braid believed that hypnotic suggestion was a valuable remedy in functional nervous disorders, he did not regard it as a rival to other forms of treatment, nor wish in any way to separate its practice from that of medicine in general. He held that whoever talked of a "universal remedy" was either a fool or a knave: similar diseases often arose from opposite pathological conditions, and the treatment ought to be varied accordingly. – John Milne Bramwell (1910)[5]


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