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Can hypnotherapy help with surgery?

operation n. - an act of surgery performed on a patient.

The answer is yes. In 1932 Milton H Erickson discovered that patients under anaesthesia could recall remarks made in the operating theatre. This lead to further experiments by Wolfe and Millet (1960) who were able to report that out of 1,500 patients who received positive suggestions while under anaesthetic, half of the patients required no post-operative pain medication.

Dave Elman is a renowned hypnotist in the United States and specialised in training the medical profession. His research along with that from others, has shown that hypnosis can be used with surgical patients in the following ways:

• To reduce presurgical fear while, at the same time, create feelings of calm optimism, with motivation and improved cooperation.
• Giving positive suggestions during and immediately after surgery to maintain calmness, minimise pain, improve appetite, reduce bleeding, and enhance a speedy recovery.For most patients undergoing minor surgery a hypnotherapy session taken a few days or a week before surgery, and one session after surgery, is usually effective.

In some cases where major surgery is scheduled it can be very beneficial to have a few sessions of hypnotherapy to help reduce the anxiety of waiting, as well as a session on the day prior to hospitalisation to help improve the recovery.

Hypnotherapy can also be beneficial to patients who are terminally ill. While hypnotherapy cannot be proven to 'cure' people, it is known that some patients have seen remission from their illness as well as an improved outlook on their condition. For some patients this results in a changed mindset which allows them to enjoy themselves instead of being depressed and miserable.


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