Hypnotherapy: Pre-Surgery and Post-Surgery
By Brooke Lemke, Hypnotherapist at Genesis Health System
When we think of hypnosis or hypnotherapy, we often think of smoking cessation, weight management, and habit modification. Today I want to share with you two lesser known areas: pre and post-surgery.
There are quite a few ways hypnosis can help in both of these areas.
Ever been stressed or worried about an upcoming surgery? That stress can impact your entire experience. And if can impact how your body heals after surgery since stress can slow down the body’s ability to heal. Hypnosis can help you go into surgery feeling calmer and more prepared. Hypnosis helps you lift that stress from your mind and body.
Compliance. It’s not uncommon for your surgeon to make recommendations before your surgery to help with the process and outcome. For example, wearing your CPAP, losing weight, quitting smoking, improving your diet, taking the appropriate medications, etc. Sometimes this can make the entire pre-surgery process even more stressful. And sometimes, you may even have to push back your surgery if you’re not compliant with these recommendations. Hypnosis can help you be compliant in the areas your doctor suggests by working with your subconscious in the area of habit modification. You’re not a failure. It’s that your subconscious is uncomfortable with the changes and prefers staying in homeostasis, keeping everything the same.
Healing. Yes, you can work with your subconscious to help your body begin the healing process even before the surgery! Your subconscious holds your involuntary bodily functions. This means by working directly with the subconscious through the hyper-suggestible state of hypnosis, you can work with your body on a cellular level.
If you have a smart phone or any recording device, I will make recordings on your phone before your surgery. Many of my clients listen to these recordings while they’re in pre-op, helping to put them in the right frame of mind by allowing them to feel calm and relaxed. If you have to stay in the hospital after your surgery, you’ll have recordings that will help you to stay motivated during the healing process.
Once you’re out of the hospital and you’re working with physical therapy, hypnosis can help you to stay in the right frame of mind. Sometimes it can be frustrating to go through the rehab process. Sometimes you may want to rush the process. Hypnosis can help you remain patient and motivated throughout your healing journey.
Pain management. Hypnosis is highly successful in the area of pain management. Imagine requiring fewer pain meds after surgery! I’ve had a number of clients go off of opioids and other pain meds by harnessing the mind/body connection through hypnosis. Pain is one of the top three areas I work with in my office. In fact, read about my patient Bill.
Hypnosis can also help you heal at a faster rate by reducing inflammation and stimulate tissue growth and repair. Below is a Harvard study I would recommend reading. Though the study was in the area of broken ankles, the same hypnotic methods are applied in any post-surgery:
Radiographs taken at 6 weeks showed that those in the hypnosis group were healing much faster than the control group (it was estimated that it took the control group another 2½ weeks to achieve the same level of healing). Other assessments also revealed that those who had used hypnosis required less medication for the pain, had a significant improvement in the mobility of their ankle, and had an easier time descending stairs then did those in the control group. The authors concluded that hypnosis can accelerate the healing of fractured bones and: ...this preliminary study reinforces findings of a fascinating link between mind and body in augmenting healing. If the mind can be harnessed to accelerate the speed of healing in a difficult test – that is, the relatively fixed, normative course and time frame of a non-displaced bone fracture – it may be even more effective in other applications in which the course of healing is presumed more variable.
Notes: In this study, 11 subjects who had fractured bones were randomly assigned to a control or a hypnosis group. All subjects received the standard care for orthopedic patients (which included clinical assessments and radiographs over the 12 weeks following the fracture). The hypnosis group received a series of individual office visits as well as audiotapes reinforcing the content of the hypnotic sessions. Direct and indirect suggestions were given to reduce inflammation and swelling, alleviate pain, stimulate tissue growth and fusion at the injury site and counteract the psychological distress associated with injury. Hypnotic mental rehearsal of increased ankle mobility, enhanced bone strength, and recovery of normal activities for rehabilitation were included.
Altern Ther Health Med. 1999 Mar;5(2):67-75
By: C. S. Ginandes, Clinical Instructor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Senior Attending Psychologist, McLean Hospital
D. I. Rosenthal, Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School, Director of Dept. of Bone and Joint Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston
Recommendations for pre and post surgery hypnosis
If possible, start your hypnosis a minimum of two months before your surgery. This allows adequate time to get you through all of your goals before the surgery. Some clients may need more than two months and some may only need 1-3 sessions. Give me a call before scheduling so we can determine the right course of action for you. 563-421-3460
I will need a referral from you physician or surgeon, or whoever is following your progress the closest. That referral can be faxed to 563-421-3461.
Bring a smartphone or recording device so I can record your hypnosis.
Do you have any additional questions? Check out the FAQ blog for more information. And then request a free phone consultation by filling out the form below or calling 563-421-3460.
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