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Dr. James Esdaile


(James Esdale)

1808 - 1859

Early practitioner of hypnosis. Born in Montrose, the son of a clergyman, Esdaile trained in medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1830. Taking up the post of an Assistant Surgeon to the East India Company, he began to experiment with mesmerism at Hooghly (Bengal). He performed a large number of major operations and minor surgical procedures under mesmerism, significantly reducing the mortality rate of surgery.

Esdaile opened a hospital in Calcutta to practice his technique and gained a considerable reputation for his work which, despite its safety advantages, was soon overtaken by the use of anaesthetics. He was appointed Surgeon to the Government of India by the Governor-General, James Broun-Ramsay Marquis of Dalhousie (1812-60).

He retired to Perth, but later moved to the warmer climate of Sydenham (Kent) where he died.


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