Troubling statistics regarding the risks and complications during and after surgery continue to rise and so I was interested to read of a study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York that found surgery patients who received hypnosis an hour before their operation saw a number of positive benefits.
- Patients required less anaesthesia
- Patients spent less time in the operating theatre
- Patients suffered less pain and discomfort in recovery
This particular study randomised 200 women facing lumpectomy or biopsy surgery for breast cancer. Each woman met with a psychologist for 15 minutes in the hour prior to surgery. Half received non-directed empathetic listening and the other half received hypnosis with relaxation and suggestions for guided visualisation. In hypnosis the women were given suggestions that they would have less pain, nausea and fatigue. The anesthetist monitored the patients without having been made aware which women had been hypnotised.
Patients who received hypnotherapy required lower amounts of anesthesia during the procedure and they spent nearly 11 fewer minutes in the operating theatre. Post-surgery the women reported less intense pain, less nausea, less fatigue less discomfort and less emotional distress.
The study’s author Dr Montgomery stated that the connection between anxiety and pain is well documented. When people are less anxious they report having less pain. He adds that the expectations people carry into surgery are also important in how they respond. With the expectation that the experience would be tolerable, as was suggested to the women while in hypnosis, the better the outcome.
The role of hypnosis in pain relief is becoming more and more mainstream. Hypnotherapy has been shown in other clinical trials to aid individuals with pain relief and it has been shown to help relieve pain in patients with cancer and burn victims. Hypnotherapy has also been shown to dramatically reduce pain in childbirth and in dental patients undergoing dental procedures.
In dentistry, hypnosis helps patients overcome anxiety and being able to help patients relax and stay calm during treatment paves the way for a more pleasant experience for both dentist and patient. There are also patients who have medical conditions or history that rule out the use of sedation or general anesthetic therefore a natural, drug free solution is ideal.
To date some 200+ clinical studies have been completed researching the mind-body connection where surgery is concerned, providing compelling evidence for more positive patient outcomes before, during and after surgery including:
79% less anxiety
76% less emotional upset
54% less pain and discomfort
74% less nausea after surgery
50% less medication required
37% faster recovery times
82% sleep improvement
50% less anesthesia required
Hypnotherapy and other mind-body methods used prior to surgery and medical intervention has been shown to help patients mind and body to be in a more relaxed and prepared state for surgery, creating a better mental and physical environment at the time of the procedure itself.
Conclusion: A happier more relaxed patient makes for fewer complications, a reduction in pain, a faster recovery and better healing.
Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council
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