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Studies show hypnosis helps with pre-surgery nerves

10:49am, 13/05/14

SurgeonThe first question that most patients want to know is whether hypnosis will help in a noticeable way with pre-surgery nerves – the answer is a resounding yes! Research conducted by the medical school at Yale University has shown that hypnosis helps in this particular context. A small test group was chosen and their levels of anxiety were measured prior to surgery. After just a single session patients reported feeling far less nervous and worried. The same patients also felt far less nauseous than would normally be expected under such conditions.

Positive results are not just limited to this study either. Dr Robert Diaz of Manchester Royal Infirmary has claimed that recovery time can be slashed by an astonishing 50% when using sedation combined with hypnosis. Patients also reported a lower heart rate and a more relaxed feeling going into surgery.

More effective than caring attention

The study conducted at Yale University also found that hypnosis was far more effective in reducing anxiety than other non-chemical (e.g. anaesthesia) treatments. For example, while caring attention from a nurse or loved one helped to reduce anxiety levels to begin with, it never quite carried through till the end of the surgery. On the other hand, hypnosis works before, during and after surgery.

The use of hypnosis in surgical situations has won the backing of many medical professionals. John Gladstone, a dentist who performs plenty of surgical procedures, says it has helped him with many of his patients. We also know that hypnosis can help relieve anxiety, encourage relaxation and build the necessary confidence for dealing with dental phobia.

Itís more than just Ďfeeling nervousí

Anaesthesia isnít cheap, but itís not about the savings on the surgery itself – the use of hypnosis can help cut down on recovery time. You wonít have to stay in hospital as many nights as you would after general anaesthesia, meaning you can go back to the comfort of your own home earlier than expected. There are also savings implication for public health care providers as resources could be saved on caring in wards.

No chemicals

Hypnosis doesnít involve chemicals at all. Itís about deep relaxation, not the complete loss of awareness, and the subject is always in control. For some people, the fact that anaesthesia actually carries a health risk may well tip the balance in favour of trying hypnosis for minor surgeries.

Why isnít it more common?

DentistResearch conducted thus far has shown that hypnosis has a positive impact on patients Ė that much is clear. So why isnít it used more often? Probably because of the stigma attached to the practice in the past. Patients can be a little wary of what some call Ďmumbo jumboí treatments, but ultimately the facts provide abundant evidence that such unsupported negative claims can be easily refuted. However, the lack of adoption of hypnosis is also to do with a certain level of conservatism on the part of health providers. Such a stance is counter-productive, considering the potential benefits of hypnosis.

If you are a patient in a pre-surgery situation with some concern about being hypnotised, donít imagine something straight out of the silver screen. As conducted by a trained professional, hypnosis is completely safe and practical.

(Photos by Artur Bergman & U.S. Army)

© 2012 Don Ely, all rights reserved . last update: 23/11/17