By Christine Wheeler, MA
Note: As Dr. Mercola emphasizes so often, surgery can often be avoided with a healthy lifestyle. This article is for those whose circumstances require surgery and for anxiety sufferers in general.
According to Surgeon Dr. Eric Robins, 80 to 90 percent of all surgery patients have noticeable anxiety before their operation. Sometimes the anxiety is quite severe.
He suggests that if people were less anxious before surgery, the amount of anesthetic they require could be reduced.
You might think that anxiety before surgery is normal and unavoidable ... after all, if most people are anxious, then it can't be that big a problem. But according to several medical studies published in the medical journal Anesthesiology, increased anxiety before surgery can have several negative outcomes.
If you tend to "catastrophize" (focus on the worst possible outcome) or have excess anxiety before surgery, research says that you will likely have more pain and use more pain medication after your operation. You may also have a slower wound healing time ... which can lead to longer hospital stays and increased risk of infection.
In general, if you have anxiety, it may take you longer to recover from your operation. But it doesn't have to be that way; you can use EFT to avoid this "inevitable" outcome and enjoy a speedy recovery.
These same studies indicated that using drugs to reduce anxiety tended to result in post-operative side effects. Doctors recommend that you relax and be optimistic ... but that is the challenge ... to keep your mind from wandering to the worst-case scenario. But who would have thought ... that your thoughts could affect your recovery?
EFT is a Drug-Free Approach to Reduce Your Anxiety Before Surgery
There is a non-invasive, no-drug option that you may wish to consider to ease your anxiety before surgery. It is something you can do yourself and it is side-effect free.
With Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), you engage your meridian system by tapping on acupuncture points with your own fingertips.
This technique tends to quickly collapse the intrusive negative thoughts that many people ruminate over prior to surgery. EFT will help you to eliminate the "what ifs" and focus your thinking on a positive, pain-free outcome.
The basics of EFT can be learned by anyone and can be self-applied (usually in minutes). It is a relatively gentle process and there are no reports of it ever interfering with any medical procedures. While EFT tends to work when nothing else will, it isn't perfect ... it has about an 80 percent success rate.
You can do EFT while you are waiting to go into surgery, but you might want to start doing it a couple of weeks before your operation to start collapsing any unresolved negative emotions that might be making you anxious.
While a complete description of EFT is beyond the scope of this article, you can learn all the basics from the free EFT Get Started Package on the EFT Web site. This includes a free download of the 79-page EFT Manual. Those wishing to save time and dive right in can get the affordable five-star training DVDs.
Here are two stories about preoperative anxiety from the EFT Web site. Both these women were offered surgery appointments much quicker than they expected. Their surprise turned to dread and they were both anxious in the days before their surgeries.
Surgery Case # 1 -- Surgery "Guinea Pig" has Quick Recovery After Using EFT
Chrissie Hardisty's friend Pat (whose name has been changed to protect privacy) was diagnosed with a prolapsed bladder and was told she'd be put on a three-month waiting list for surgery.
But two weeks after her appointment with the specialist, the hospital called offering her an opportunity to be one of four guinea pigs for a pioneering surgery ... in just four days time. She and the other three women would have the surgery on the same day.
She was also told that she would not be put under general anesthetic, but just given a spinal epidural. She was dreading that part. Pat told Chrissie how frightened she was and Chrissie told her to tap (do EFT) for the next four days before the surgery.
Pat met the other three women at the hospital and they were all very afraid. Pat was cool and calm ... she had slept like a log ... she was the only one who watched TV all morning before her afternoon surgery. The other women were all given a pre-operation medication ... but the nurse said to Pat, "You don't need it you are so calm."
When she went into the operating room, they didn't give her an epidural but only gave her a local anesthetic because she was so calm. Pat said it was so easy, and she could feel nothing. Although her hospital stay was expected to be 10 days, Pat went home just 48 hours after her surgery. She made a complete recovery in three weeks.
Surgery Case #2 -- Even the Needles Were Painless After Doing EFT
Lisa Cox, an EFT practitioner, spoke with her client Jane (name changed for privacy reasons) who was suddenly called into the hospital for surgery on her feet.
Jane had never had a calm experience in a hospital and just thinking about the operation was so distressing that she was actually sweating. On a 10-point scale, Jane's distress was at a 10.
Lisa had Jane imagine every step of the hospital excursion, from being admitted ... to the anesthetic ... to going under ... to waking up after the operation. At each point, Jane's distress was at a 10 but after a few minutes of EFT, she felt calm. At the end of her appointment, she was relaxed and no longer afraid to have the surgery.
Jane called Lisa a few days later. She said the surgery went well ... even the needles were relatively painless ... she never became afraid. Normally when Jane would be in post-op, she would become cold and sick but that didn't happen after doing EFT work.
More on EFT
Please note that in addition to eliminating surgery-related anxiety, EFT has been a consistently effective healing tool for hundreds of other physical, mental and emotional ailments. For more information, you can explore the EFT Web site and its numerous success stories regarding fears, phobias, emotional traumas and physical ailments.
Please consult qualified health professionals before putting EFT into practice for yourself or others.
Christine Wheeler is an EFT Practitioner and freelance natural health writer. Christine and Dr. Carolyn Dean co-authored IBS for Dummies (Wiley Publishing) where they present EFT as one of the natural treatments options for people with irritable bowel syndrome.