Mind-Body Healing Arthritis Alternatives
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Why Mind-Body?
Relaxation Quickies
Expressing Feelings
Power of Thoughts

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A mind-body approach to surgery.

Prepare for surgery by getting relaxed.
Expecting success improves surgery results.
Getting help and support
Questions to ask your surgeon
Supplements to promote healing
The day of your surgery

When you are relaxed and optimistic about the outcome of your surgery, you reduce the probability of complications, you strengthen immune function and you reduce the need for pain medication.
Your recovery time will be shorter.

Prepare for surgery by getting relaxed.

When you experience stress, your body's stress hormones prepare you for fight or flight. When the feeling of stress is constant your immune function is suppressed. It is common to experience nervousness before surgery. To counteract this nervousness and keep immune function high, it is important to make relaxation activities part of your daily schedule before any medical procedures.

If you already know any stress management techniques, now is the time to include these techniques in your daily schedule.

Click here to learn how to relax for surgery.

Expecting success improves surgery results.

When you expect to recovery easily and completely, you set up an expectation in your unconscious mind. Your unconscious is then part of your healing team.

Visualization is an excellent tool for creating an expectation of success. It is best to begin by getting relaxed. Then settle down and engage in activities where you see yourself healing. Use as many senses as possible.

Close your eyes and see yourself at your surgery. Everything is going smoothly. See yourself afterwards, easily healing. See yourself in beautiful, relaxing surroundings, with sounds that you like, with people you like, good food, good music, whatever works for you.

You can write it, see it, feel it, draw it, whatever works. Be sure you include feelings of gratitude.

Write about the surgery and the healing afterwards as if it were the present. Write about how well you are doing during the operation. Write about your feelings of happiness and appreciation for the healthy way that you feel and look after the surgery.

Visualizing getting well can have many meanings. It may mean having your physical body be exactly the way it was before you were sick. If this is not a reasonable expectation it is still reasonable to see yourself as mentally and emotionally happy and healthy, enjoying life, family and friends.

Getting help and support.

Ask for prayers and good wishes.
Studies show that prayer helps people heal. People who are prayed for have fewer complications and faster rates of recovery.

Ask everyone you know for prayers. Then, whenever you feel apprehensive, you will be able to draw comfort from the knowledge of all the prayers you are receiving.

If you or the people you ask are not comfortable with prayers, try this.

Write a list of your hopes and expectations for recovery. Ask your friends to read this list and focus their wishes and intent on a positive outcome. You can draw on this when you are alone by remembering the people who are sending you good wishes.
Click here for a sample list of hopes and expectations.

Internet Support.
The internet arthritis newsgroup is a nice place to go for support about surgery concerns. Here you can express your fears to people who will understand exactly what you are feeling. You can also request specific information about an upcoming operation.

Thousands of people with arthritis subscribe to this newsgroup. If you post a concern about your upcoming surgery you will receive a lot of comments, some more helpful than others. Take what you like and leave the rest.

People with arthritis from around the world post to this newsgroup. If you describe your condition and ask for comments from others with a similar condition, you will get a lot of information. Remember, if you ask a large group like this one, there may be one or two people with horror stories. Decide what you would do if their experience happens to you, but don't get too concerned unless most people have horror stories. In that case you would need to talk to your doctor and possibly get a second opinion to be sure you have a clear picture of the risks.

The newsgroup is alt.support.arthritis. To get to the newsgroup type www.groups.google.com
In the google search box type "alt.support.arthritis" Click on "post a new message to alt.support.arthritis." You will have to register if you have never posted at google before. Follow the directions.

Feel worthy to ask for and receive all the help you need.

Most people feel honored and happy to help. To not ask denies them the pleasure of helping and getting to know you at a deeper level. Some of the people you ask for help may have to turn you down. Others that you wouldn't expect to help will be happy to be there for you.

Some people get into trouble when asking for help by thinking there is one particular person who is the only one able to help. Then when you ask that person there is a lot of pressure and it feels uncomfortable for both of you. It helps if you think of several people you can ask. Asking for help works best when you believe in your heart that it is perfectly okay if any particular person turns you down because there are other people you can ask and one of the people you ask will be glad to help.

Questions to ask Your Surgeon.

  • Is this operation necessary?

  • What will happen if I don't have the surgery?

  • What is the most likely outcome of this surgery? What will I be able to do that I cannot do now?

  • What is the success rate? Rate of complications?

  • How long till I can get the operated part of my body wet?
    If you will need to keep an arm or leg from getting wet for awhile: Pharmacies with medical supplies department sell plastic sleeves to cover arms or legs to protect from water while bathing. To purchase on the internet go to one of the search engines and search for cast/bandage protector

  • Will I be able to drive a car after the surgery? If not, how long will it be before I can drive again?

  • How many visits to the doctor and physical therapy (if any) after the surgery?
    After surgery to replace the knuckles on my right hand, I couldn't use my hand to drive for 8 weeks. I needed rides to physical therapy 2 to 3 times a week. It's nice to know this sort of thing in advance.

  • How long until I can walk?

  • How long until I can use both hands for housework, cooking, self-care, etc?
    Depending on the answer you may need to arrange for help with such things as cleaning, personal hygiene, meal preparation, rides.

  • You may also want to post some of these questions at the arthritis newsgroup listed above. A good question to ask the newsgroup is:  if you had a second chance, would you get this operation again?
Trusting your surgeon.
It is important that you trust your doctor's skill and his or her intention to provide you with excellent care.

How do you know if your doctor is someone you can trust? Ask knowledgeable people if they recommend this doctor. Ask the doctor who refered you to the surgeon: "Is this the doctor you would choose if you or a member of your family needed this operation?" If you have an acquaintance that works in the hospital, that person may be able to make inquiries for you.

Physical therapists and occupational therapists know which doctors consistently get the best results. Find a reason to consult with the therapist before the surgery and ask the question: "Which surgeon would you use if you needed this operation?" You also want to have confidence that this surgery is necessary and appropriate. If there is any question at all you need to get a second opinion.

Supplements to Promote Healing.

Vitamin E.  If you are taking vitamin E, many doctors recommend discontinuing a week before surgery because vitamin E has blood thinning properties and may interfere with clotting. Consult with your surgeon.

Vitamin C is recommended by many holistic medical doctors for healing from surgery. The recommended dose varies.
Dr Mercola suggests 500 to 1000 mg daily beginning two weeks before surgery and continuing 2 to 4 weeks afterwards.
Dr Northrup suggests 2,000 mg per day. If the dose is too high there will be abdominal pain or loose stools. This is not a cause for concern. You cut back the dose to the point of no abdominal stress and you will have the dose of maximum benefit.

Vitamin A Dr Mercola recommends 50,000 units daily.
Dr Northrup recommends 25,000 daily. Do not take if you are pregnant.

Zinc picolinate Dr Mercola recommends 30 mg daily.
Dr Northrup recommends 100 mg per day.
Discontinue if you experience nausea.

Arnica Montana 30x. This homeopathic remedy is very effective for all trauma including surgery. Dissolve 3 or 4 pellets under the tongue. Begin a few days before surgery and continue for a week after. Take this dose twice daily. For the first half day after surgery take every 20 minutes. Like most homeopathic remedies it should be taken separate from food.

Joseph Mercola, D.O.
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Preparing for The Day of Your Surgery.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that you will be able to put back on after you are heavily bandaged.

  • If you will have hand surgery, wear clothes that you can put on with one hand.

  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.

  • Arrange to have nourishing meals. Cook in advance and freeze or arrange for friends to bring you food.

  • Have reusable ice packs in the freezer.

  • Be sure the person driving you has money for parking fees, meals and prescription drugs that the doctor may order as you are leaving the hospital.

  • Rent some movies to watch when you are home recovering. Comedies are especially good.

  • Have a portable tape or CD player that has continuous play with headphones. Bring either a relaxation tape or CD or a tape or CD with music that you find calming.

    The Rationale:  Before and after the surgery, a relaxation tape will keep you calm.

    During the surgery the sound on the CD or tape will block out the noise of the operating room. Even under anesthesia your unconscious mind can still hear and remember.

    At this time your unconscious is very vulnerable to thoughtless comments. Innocent comments may be misinterpreted with negative consequences. It is best not to hear it.

    Set the volume loud enough to hear, but not too loud. Your hearing is very sensitive when you are under anesthesia.

  • Bring fresh batteries for the tape or CD player.

Relaxation and Healing Tapes and CDs