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Anxious, stressed, scared. These are common words used by patients to describe what they are feeling before surgery. Patients about to have a surgical procedure often feel the negative effects of high stress, including a sense of panic or fear, uncertainty and loss of control.

That’s why as part of North Hawaii Community Hospital’s holistic care services, all surgical patients are offered a complimentary and natural way to help manage these unwelcome feelings and focus on healing through “guided imagery.”

After years of research, modern science has proved the existence of an extremely powerful mind-body connection. Mind over matter is not a cliché and guided imagery is a proven technique to help patients cope during stressful and difficult times. It provides a way to refocus their thoughts, producing a feeling of calm, peace, and relaxation.

Guided imagery helps patients focus the mind by accessing intuition, exploring emotions and deepening inner awareness. Guided imagery improves the surgery experience, minimizes pain and complications, and speeds recovery. In addition, studies have shown that patients who are calm and relaxed recover more quickly from surgery.

Patients scheduled for surgery at NHCH and choose to use guided imagery, simply listen to a guided imagery CD, provided complimentary by NHCH. This CD guides patients through a story while soothing music plays in the background. The process allows them to relax and create a tranquil, mental escape within their mind.

Patients begin listening to tracks one and two of the guided imagery CD one or more days prior to their surgical procedure, alternating between these two tracks, as often as desired. On the day of their surgical procedure, patients listen to the CD as they are in pre-op or as they are taken to the operating room. At this time, they listen to track three, containing soothing music that provides a sense of peace. The CD will continue to play during their procedure and even through post surgery in the recovery room. Many patients have stated when they woke from their surgery or procedure; the familiar, soothing music comforted them and made them feel less frightened.

The morning after surgery patients are recommended to listen to tracks one and two again until they are discharged. The more they listen, the better the benefits. In addition, a patient’s family member acting as their caregiver are also encouraged to listen to the Guided Imagery CD as well, as they too may find it helpful.

The use of guided imagery is completely optional. Those interested will be provided the guided imagery CD during their pre-operative clinic appointment. If you have any questions or would like further information regarding North Hawaii Community Hospital’s holistic care services or about guided imagery specifically, please call 881-4416.