Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques

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Recommended in three best-sellers: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D., The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D., and Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson.

The mind-body techniques in this book help you to feel calmer before surgery, use 23-50% less pain medication and heal faster. Huddleston’s five-step program is recommended in leading hospitals across the U.S. including N.Y.U. Medical Center in New York and...

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Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques

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Recommended in three best-sellers: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, M.D., The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, M.D., and Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson.

The mind-body techniques in this book help you to feel calmer before surgery, use 23-50% less pain medication and heal faster. Huddleston’s five-step program is recommended in leading hospitals across the U.S. including N.Y.U. Medical Center in New York and several Kaiser Permenante Medical Centers in California.

You’ll learn to use relaxation to calm preoperative jitters and create the biochemistry that enhances healing. Next you are gently guided to use visualization to turn worries into healing imagery. Add to that the healing power of organizing a support group of family and friends who surround you in love for the half-hour before surgery.

Finally,Healing Statements, words spoken by the anesthesiologist during surgery are one of the five keys to the success of Huddleston’s program. Medical research documents that positive statements reduced the use of pain medication following surgery.

The book includes sections on lessening the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, vitamins that speed healing, preparing children for surgery, plus extensive resources and references.

"...based on ground breaking studies at Beth Israel, Emory Univ., and St. Thomas's Hospital...shows how visualization & relaxation techniques, support groups, & positive doctor- patient relationships play an important part in healing."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster empowers patients to lead the way to recovery by allowing them to take their appropriate place on the surgical team."
--Mehmet C. Oz, MD, Host of The Dr. Oz Show

"I recommend Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster to all who require surgery and want to recover faster."
--Andrew Weill, MD, New York Times best-selling author

"Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster should be in the hands of everyone having surgery."
--Christiane Northrup, MD, New York Times best-selling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780964575721
  • Publisher: Angel River Press
  • Publication date: 5/10/2013
  • Pages: 267
  • Sales rank: 204,227
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Peggy Huddleston, M.T.S., has taught workshops in self-healing to thousands of people in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Paris, and Amsterdam. She has a psychotherapy practice in Cambridge, MA. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, her studies focused on the ways positive emotions and the human spirit enhance healing.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Your Role in the Healing Process

Love cures people, both the ones who
give it and the ones who receive it.
—Karl Menninger

This book shows you specific ways to enhance your healing as you prepare for, and go through, any type of minor or major surgery.

For some people, surgery is a simple matter of having something fixed, removing a bone spur or a benign cyst. If this is what you are facing, the mind-body techniques you'll learn here will help you go through routine surgery more easily and with greater comfort. And you'll recover faster.

However, minor or major surgery can be frightening. If you are afraid, the mind-body techniques will give you ways to cope with your fears and actually feel peaceful during the hours, days and weeks before your operation. In turn, your calmness will improve your surgical outcome.

A review of the medical literature documents that people who prepare for an operation have less pain, fewer complications and recover sooner. This review was done at Harvard Medical School by Drs. Malcolm Rogers and Peter Reich. While many research studies are buried in medical journals, this book makes them available to you.

As a psychotherapist and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, my clinical work, research and studies have focused on how people can use their emotions, attitudes and human spirits to enhance the healing process.

Over the past 18 years, I have taught workshops in self-healing techniques to more than 6,000 people inBoston, New York, Philadelphia, London, Paris and Amsterdam.

Often in workshops someone will ask, "I am having surgery in a few weeks. What can I do to reduce my anxiety and make surgery less stressful? How can I have less pain and heal faster?"

In response, I developed five steps to prepare people for surgery. They give you specific ways to feel more in control at a time you can often feel helpless and vulnerable. They are easy to use, cost you and the hospital nothing, and have no negative side effects.

Many people have told me how these techniques helped them cope with the emotional stress of surgery. And over and over, they have reported how amazed their doctors and nurses were at the ease and speed of their recovery.

Using these techniques will help you

* feel calmer before surgery * have less pain after surgery * use less pain medication * recover faster * strengthen your immune system * save money on medical bills.

Recovering sooner reduces your hospitalization costs and other medical expenses which benefits both you and your health care provider. It also allows you to get back to work earlier.

For example, in a study at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, patients who received specific instructions to prepare for abdominal surgery, recovered sooner, leaving the hospital 1.5 days earlier than the patients in the control group, who had no preoperative instructions. This meant a savings in hospitalization costs of $1,200 per person.

Five Steps to Prepare for Surgery

You'll learn five steps to prepare for surgery.

Step 1: Relax to Feel Peaceful

You will learn the skill of deep relaxation to reduce anxiety — and feel calm. Using the audio cassette offered with the book, you will be guided through a process of relaxation. Feeling peaceful soothes your nervous system and strengthens your immune system. It also balances your endocrine and cardiovascular systems, creating the complex biochemistry that enhances overall healing. If you need to order a tape, see page 263.

In addition, if you have any stress-related symptoms, such as tension headaches, migraines, insomnia, hypertension or anxiety, you'll find these symptoms diminishing or disappearing, depending on how well you master the technique of relaxation.

Once relaxed you'll learn to surround yourself with love as a way to promote healing. Ground-breaking medical research reveals what you may have always known: We all feel better when our hearts are filled with love — and we heal better too.

While research has shown that repeated experiences of frustration, anger and hostility accumulate in the body, suppressing the immune system and increasing heart disease, recent studies have documented that care, appreciation and love boost the immune system and enhance the functioning of the heart.

This innovative research has been conducted at the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California. As individuals in the study focused on feelings of appreciation and love, there was a marked increase in their immune functioning, as measured by the antibody, salivary immunogloblin A (IgA).

IgA protects the body against viruses and bacteria in the digestive and respiratory tract. Individuals with higher levels of IgA are more resistant to colds and flu and have less respiratory infections.

When the same people experienced emotions of appreciation and love, their hearts reflected an increased ordering in heart rhythm patterns. Since the heart creates a large electrical field of energy that influences every cell, this has a very positive effect on the entire body.

By contrast, the individuals in the control group, who had not learned to focus on appreciation and love, had more chaotic heart rhythm patterns.

Step 2: Visualize Your Healing

You'll learn to turn your worries into vivid, healing images. Using your intuitive knowing, the inner wisdom of your body will tell you what emotions and images will be most healing. As you use them daily to visualize your healing process, they will permeate your consciousness, facilitating your recovery.

Step 3: Organize a Support Group

You will learn a technique that allows the caring and loving thoughts of your friends and family to calm you during the half-hour or hour before surgery.

Step 4: Use Healing Statements

You'll learn how to have less pain, fewer complications and heal faster if your doctor says four therapeutic statements to you during surgery. Medical research in the United States and Europe documents the dramatic benefits of the statements.

Copies of the Healing Statements are on page 257 which you can give to your surgeon or anesthesiologist to use during your operation.

Step 5: Meet Your Anesthesiologist

You'll learn to how to benefit the most from your preoperative meeting with your anesthesiologist. You entrust your consciousness to this doctor. Yet people often do not meet their anesthesiologist until the night before or even 30 minutes before surgery.

A research study at Harvard Medical School showed that arranging a meeting well before surgery significantly reduced patients' preoperative anxiety.

In another Harvard study, patients having abdominal surgery used 50% less morphine and left the hospital 2.7 days sooner when their anesthesiologists instructed them in postoperative care. The patients in the control group never met an anesthesiologist and received no postoperative instruction.

Even if your operation is tomorrow, you'll sleep better tonight if you call your surgeon's office and arrange a telephone meeting for today with your anesthesiologist. Having this doctor explain the procedures helps you feel calmer and more in control because you'll know what to expect.

Ideally, you will be reading this book one or two weeks, or even a month, before your operation. This will give you plenty of time to put all five steps to use well before surgery. The more steps you master, the better your results will be.

Make the techniques your own. Use them as they are explained or adapt them. They give you the tools to meet the challenge of surgery, transforming it from a feared or overwhelming event into a time of healing.

Only a Day Before Surgery

Even if you have only a day before surgery, you can dramatically influence your recovery by concentrating on Steps 3, 4 and 5. They are easy to implement.

After surgery, use Steps 1 and 2 to benefit your recuperation.

If you are motivated to do more, the epilogue shows how inner peace and love enhance your healing — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Wake-Up Call

For some people, having an operation is a wake-up call — a call to look at their whole life to see what needs healing. It sets in motion a process that may require continued introspection for some time, before and after surgery.

If you hear this call — and answer it — it can lead to a renewed embrace with life.

For those who have made this journey, surgery became a doorway that opened to deeper meaning in their lives. At the time, they would never have imagined that it would become such an experience.

Preparing for Abdominal Surgery

Here is an example of how the five steps helped Elinor Elliot of Boston, Massachusetts. Elinor called me several weeks before having surgery to remove two ovarian cysts. She was agitated and fearful. Her mother had an occurrence of cancer and Elinor was afraid of the same thing.

To find what images would calm her, I asked, "When are you the most peaceful?" She said, "I love being in nature, seeing its beauty — feeling a sense of connection with the earth, trees and sky."

To help reduce her anxiety, I guided Elinor through a process of deep relaxation. As she felt the tension letting go in her body, I asked her to remember a specific time she felt connected to the earth, trees and sky. Recalling it, she became calmer.

For her use at home, I gave her a tape recording of the relaxation process, like the one that comes with this book. With it, she could reduce her fear and feel calm. After listening to the tape, three times a day for a week, she began to feel in harmony with everything around her.

As If All of Spring Were Healing Her

It was spring, and she felt as if all of spring were healing her. The fragrance of the lilacs became healing, as did the singing of the birds and the warmth of the spring sun. She felt a resonance with all of life.

Her everyday world took on a new quality of peace. Because she listened to the tape recording so often, she could replay the relaxation process from memory, calming herself whenever she felt afraid.

In addition, she used techniques of visualization to picture the two cysts getting smaller. Three days before surgery an ultrasound test showed what is common with ovarian cysts — one of them had completely disappeared during her two weeks of preparation.

On the day of surgery at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, she said, "I felt more peaceful than I have ever felt in my entire life as I lay on the gurney in the hallway waiting outside the operating room, listening to the relaxation tape. As a nurse wheeled me into the operating room, my surgeon and nurses gathered around me, and I hugged them. It seemed like we were one team."

"As I went under the anesthesia, I heard my doctor say the positive statements that I had asked him to use. They worked so well that after surgery I needed little pain medication."

"My doctor commented that I was recovering much faster than three other women down the hall who had undergone the same operation. Of course, I was relieved knowing that the cyst was benign. I left the hospital one day earlier than planned. My two weeks of recovery at home were peaceful."


As you put the five steps into practice, you'll learn to let go of your fears about surgery and instead feel a deep peace. It will calm you before and during surgery and greatly enhance your healing.

It is an inner peace that most people have always known but have long forgotten how to find. For others, the peace goes far beyond anything they have ever known.

How to Speed Healing
if You're Not Having Surgery

The book guides you through a healing process which you can use even if you are not having surgery. Read the entire book except for Steps 4 and 5 which refer specifically to surgery.

To enhance healing, use the relaxation tape to do even more than relax. Practicing with it once or twice a day, you'll find that deep levels of relaxation open to a deep, inner peace.


The epilogue explains easy ways to open yourself to experience the inner peace and love that always resonate within you and all around you.

Once you can dwell in this shimmering resonance for days and weeks, you'll be transformed on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Training for Health Care Professionals

If you would like to be trained and certificated to present a one-hour Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster Workshop, I offer a two-day training for health care professionals. For information, call my office in Cambridge, Mass. at (617) 497-9431 or see

Workshops are now given in medical practices, hospitals and HMOs around the country.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D ix
Your Role in the Healing Process 1
Practical Information about Surgery 13
Five Healing Steps:
Step 1: Relax to Feel Peaceful 31
Step 2: Visualize Your Healing 63
Step 3: Organize a Support Group 109
Step 4: Use Healing Statements 135
History of Research 138
Healing Statements 177, 257
Step 5: Meet Your Anesthesiologist 179
Epilogue: One More Way to Enhance Healing 197
Afterword 217
Appendix A: Vitamins that Speed Healing 221
Appendix B: Preparing Children for Surgery 225
Appendix C: How to Lessen the Side Effects of Chemotherapy
and Radiation 227
Resources 235
References 243
Acknowledgments 249
Index 252
Healing Statements 257
Training and Certification in Preparefor Surgery, Heal
Faster Workshops 262
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