Integrative Medicine | Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster

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What is Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster™?
The program, which consists of Peggy Huddleston's book "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster", and a companion relaxation CD/tape, helps patients become a more active participant in their healing process.

This program was first implemented in Women's Health for gynecological surgical patients in March 1998. Based on post-op outcomes and the positive feedback from patients who participated in the program, Integrative Medicine now offers the program to all surgical patients.

Women's Health is currently participating in a multi-center research study comparing outcomes of patients receiving a medical pre-op class with those receiving the "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster" class.

Peggy Huddleston and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston are the principle investigators. Alice Moore, RN and Linda Taylor, MD are Hartford Hospital investigators.

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Using Relaxation Techniques to Prepare for Surgery
Millions of Americans undergo surgery every year. Among the many responses to the need for surgery, fear is the most commonly reported by pre-op patients… fear of the unknown, fear of image disturbance, fear of death, disability, pain or poor prognosis, as well as fear of powerlessness. Even to the well adjusted, the idea of surgery can be very stressful as well as confusing. This stress response can not only be uncomfortable but can actually undermine the immune system at a time when the body makes great demands on the immune system for wound healing and recovery. The surgical outcome can therefore be impacted by the way a patient deals with this stress.

What are the Benefits?
Physicians typically prepare patients for the mechanical aspects of surgery, explaining what will happen to their bodies. All may not realize just how frightened their patients feel about even minor procedures. The relaxation techniques (often called mind-body techniques) like those recommended in this class can help patients:

  • Feel calmer before surgery
  • Show them how to participate in the healing process
  • Help them feel more comfortable post-op promote a faster recovery

Research with patients preparing for surgery has shown that mind-body techniques can...

  • Induce the "Relaxation Response"
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Boost the immune system
  • Diminish pain
  • Accelerate healing

Peggy Huddleston's 5 steps to help you prepare for surgery and recovery:

  1. Calm the preoperative jitters while guided by the relaxation CD/tape. Feeling peaceful strengthens your immune system and creates the complex bio-chemistry that enhances healing.
  2. Visualize your recovery by turning worries into healing imagery.
  3. Surround yourself in love of family and friends to feel calm before surgery.
  4. Use "healing statements," words spoken during surgery that can reduce the use of pain medication by up to 50%.
  5. Establish supportive doctor-patient relationships.

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Your doctor and nurses understand that helping you be well is not just about providing the surgery you need. Healing incorporates the mind, body and spirit.

You may order the book and CD/tape for $25 through Integrative Medicine by calling 860.972.4444 or at

You may pick them up at the hospital or we can mail them to you.

Whenever possible, working with the relaxation CD/tape daily for at least two weeks before surgery (as well as listening during surgery and after surgery) is optimum. It is, however, helpful to use the CD/tape anytime before and during surgery.

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