We got this message from a "Happy Tape User" after his surgery to remove a pituitary adenoma.
Best we can tell from sales, the use of guided imagery before surgery has really skyrocketed. Even on Amazon, Successful Surgery is a bestseller, way up there with with Healthful Sleep and Relieve Stress.
Here is the note:
First, I wanted to thank you for your guided imagery. I've used many of your titles over the years and have always been pleased with the results. However, I was extremely happy with the results on the last one I used: "Successful Surgery."
I had pituitary surgery to remove a pituitary adenoma. I listened to the imagery 3 times at bedtime for 3 nights prior to the surgery. The surgery was extremely successful, and my surgeons were happy with the results.
The imagery also gave me something I could do for myself to feel empowered going into the surgery. Four weeks out I'm doing great. Thank you.
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Elizabeth just got this thank you note and update from one of the inspired folks she got to know over the phone. We're posting it here to show the range of uses one clever, generous and inventive oncology patient can get out of guided imagery and other mind-body techniques. Her use of ritual and opting to wish others well on the chemo unit – well, it's very heart-warming and inspiring. Check it out.
Here's the note, edited down just a bit for size:
Howdy, E !
I am finished with radiation & feeling a bit like Hiroshima. I am at the 10 month date for treatment & I can't tell you how much your support has been, literally, a Godsend.
We just got this question from a concerned mother, whose 12-yr-old daughter is facing major surgery and is feeling a lot of anxiety and trepidation over it.
My 12 year old daughter is about to have major surgery. She is very anxious. Do u have a guided imagery that is appropriate?
Yes, we do have guided imagery for her, and the good news is that two different studies – one out of Columbia Presbyterian and one from Blue Shield's HMO in California – showed that the more anxious the person was, the more they benefitted from listening to pre-surgery guided imagery. Counter-intuitive but true. We've noticed this on our end too, just from the feedback we've gotten in the office and keep on getting.
We were pretty tickled to find this ringing endorsement of guided imagery for before, during and after surgery, from a Kaiser Permanente HMO member who found it on the KP patient education web page.
A friend of mine recommended guided imagery for surgery --- her surgeon had recommended it to her. I was lucky to find out that Kaiser offers this on their website, and I was able to get it there.
I listened to the "pre-surgery" (tracks 2 and 3) portion each evening for a couple of weeks before my (hip replacement) surgery (skipping past the intro each evening).
I took my portable CD player into pre-op with me and was listening to it as they prepared me for the operating room, and was still listening to it as they wheeled me down the hall.
Someone who suffered a traumatic injury, with many broken bones, lots of pain and multiple surgeries, gives a testimonial to the power of guided imagery for help with sleep, pain and despair.
It should also be noted that some of the very earliest studies with guided imagery – back in the 70's and 80's, with Jean Achtenberg and Frank Lawlis, demonstrated that it could in fact speed up the healing of broken bone tissue.
Here is the note:
I have had the healing from trauma CD for years and listen to it almost daily; it has helped me through a very trying time involving a very bad fall which broke several bones as well as aggravation of old back surgery, necessitating another surgery soon. If not for imagery, I would never be able to take as little as a third of the pain Rx's, or sleep well without pills. I know that I'll be able to get through the rest of this experience with this imagery. It marshals my inner strength and gives me patience. And hope. Thank you, thank you.
We got this enthusiastic review of our guided imagery for surgery quite a while ago – an emailer just referred to it. It's signed. Here it is:
Because my CD player broke down at the very last minute, I was only able to hear the guided imagery pre-op meditation one time. I replayed it in my head the night before surgery, and then (because I had no CD player with me) the attending anesthesiologist played Steve Kohn's surgery meditation music for the entire OR staff on their player. (They "loved" it.)
But what was truly astounding was when one of the doctors came to my room to report EXACTLY the words that are in the pre-op meditation. My surgery was "spectacular" (the O.R. team's words), I lost the smallest amount of blood they'd ever seen (10 ml), and it took 2.5 hrs instead of the usual 3 hrs.
On top of that, I was off heavy pain meds within 36 hours and off the Tylenol in another 36 hrs. In 72 hrs I was up and dancing (gently) with my granddaughter! Every doc who visited me took down the name of this CD!
Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D.
I love your guided imagery CDs and downloads. They have been so helpful to my family in so many ways.
Now my sister is now pregnant after 4 miscarriages in 3 years. According to all the pre-natal testing, the baby is healthy, strong and free of any possible congenital abnormalities. Nevertheless, my dear sister is (understandably) "waiting for the other shoe to drop". What imagery would you recommend?
I ask this because due to prior complications, she must have a scheduled C-section. The pregnancy and childbirth CD appears to be focused on vaginal birth. I want to honor her reality and provide her with a program that will support her confidence in her body.
Terry K., Chiropractor
In this pilot study, researchers from the University of Montreal investigated the impact of a guided imagery intervention on post-op pain intensity, anxiety, coping and daily activities in adolescents and young adults, ages 11-20, after undergoing orthopedic surgery (spinal fusion) for idiopathic scoliosis.
Participants were randomized to standard care or standard care with the guided imagery intervention. The intervention consisted of a DVD with information and guided imagery/relaxation exercises to practice at least three times a week at home.
A nurse screened the DVD with the patient pre-operatively and at discharge (T1) and telephoned 2 weeks post-discharge (T2) to reinforce the use of the technique.
In this pilot study, researchers from the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, investigated the efficacy of guided imagery for pain management with adolescents, ages 11-20 years, after undergoing spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis, a medical procedure that entails considerable anxiety and postoperative pain.
Participants were randomized to standard care or standard care with the guided imagery intervention, which consisted of a DVD with information and guided imagery/relaxation exercises to practice at least three times a week at home.
A nurse screened the DVD with the patient preoperatively and at discharge (T1) and telephoned 2 weeks post-discharge (T2) to reinforce the technique. Both groups completed questionnaires at T1, T2, and T3 (1-month postoperative follow-up).
This email came to us from a physician who suffered a painful, ruptured cervical disk. He had serious reservations about opting for back surgery if he could use other, less invasive methods, and guided imagery helped him with the pain enough to allow him to hold out and use yoga and chiropractic to get the job done. Check it out:
Dear Health Journeys,
I have experienced first hand how effective guided imagery can be. I am a long- time distributor and have always believed in the efficacy of imagery, but experiencing its benefits personally takes my enthusiasm to a whole, new level.
I used the Ease Pain imagery during a very rough time with a ruptured cervical disk, which is now fully under control, thanks in large part to Chiropractic and Yoga.