Thursday, August 11, 2011

Healing Visualizations: Surgery

If you have any doubts about the impact of the mind on healing, then please explain why placebos work almost as well as actual medicine. Even more interesting is the fact that placebos are becoming more effective than they once were.

The people who love doing scientific studies are no doubt investing a whole lot of time and energy into the process of trying to figure out why. I'm more of a pragmatist. Rather than proving that the mind has impact on healing (something that has been common wisdom among healers throughout history and within most cultures from the North Pole to the South Pole), I am far more interested in applying that common wisdom to my work.

Hence I'm going to post a series of healing meditations I use routinely.

To proceed with any of these meditations, what you have to do is engage and guide your imagination. Take a deep breath or two, center and ground in whatever way is familiar to you, then "stream" the images below through your mind. The more vividly you picture these images, the better. As for how well they work, well, I'll leave that to the researchers. If nothing else, these images are calming and encouraging. They hurt no one and provide something to think about. It's always a good idea to reduce anxiety and stress.

If you do not have a process for centering or grounding, leave a comment if you would like suggestions about how to do that.


Several of my clients have had surgeries recently, hence this series of visualizations is fresh in my mind.

For the family, friends and health-care givers:

Focus first on the morning of the surgery. Imagine that the surgeon and entire surgical team wakes up well rested, alert and in good moods. Imagine the team gathering before the surgery, exchanging thoughts and other important information. Imagine a cohesiveness among them.

Visualize the surgery unfolding smoothly, without surprises or complications. Imagine the patient's heart beating steadily while his/her life force remains strong and intact. Imagine the patient is well protected, does not bleed too much, and sustains the trauma of surgery with robustness.

After surgery, imagine the anesthetic being released quickly and smoothly from the patient's body, imagine the patient managing pain with good humor and optimism. "See" the process of healing underway.

For the person undergoing the surgery:

In the weeks prior to surgery, as often as possible, visualize being in a place that creates a feeling of peace and serenity, a place in which the patient feels happy, safe, and secure. Use all the senses to create a multi-layered picture of this place. Usually the best scenario includes something beautiful and majestic like the ocean, mountains or a crystal clear lake, a clean gorgeous river or a meadow full of flowers, a forest of tall trees. In other words, visions of the beauty of nature seems to create the most palpable feelings of peace and serenity.

Most people visualize a place they have visited. One of my clients puts himself on a swimming dock at a lake he has visited countless times over many years. He "hears" herons and ducks, "feels" a soft breeze as well as warm sunshine on his skin. Every now and then in his visualization, a cloud will pass over the sun, bringing a sweet coolness. One of his feet dangles off the edge of the dock so it is barely submerged in the clean lake water. Ahhhh ... I feel calmer just thinking about it.

Take time building this visualization to include smells, sounds, and sensations as well as visuals. The more often the patient can put him/herself into this place prior to surgery, the better. A calm body/mind will be much better able to withstand the trauma of surgery, and too this internal place of peace and beauty will help the patient through the inevitable impatience and stress of recovery.

In fact, who needs to wait until they have scheduled a surgery to invoke a place of inner peace? We would all do well to create this place for ourselves, no matter what's going on, hey? I say hey.

On this beautiful summer day in Washington DC, I wish you peace. Shalom.

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