Posted on 6th October 2023 at 15:18
Preparing naturally for any operation can help lessen pain levels, reduce the risk of complications and aid recovery
Life doesn’t always go to plan and there may come a time when any of us might need to undergo surgery of some kind. When that surgery is planned it allows time for the patient to focus on three key areas - attitude, exercise and nutrition, to help make the procedure easier and the recovery time shorter.
Having time to prepare allows us to create a positive attitude towards the surgery. Of course it won’t be pleasant but taking steps to lower anxiety levels beforehand is beneficial and empowering. A regular practice of just 20 minutes of guided deep relaxation daily has been shown to boost immune activity and in this day and age, there really is something for everyone. Healing imagery set to music that relaxes you, Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping), hypnosis, acupuncture and yoga breathing are just some of the techniques that have been proven to reduce stress levels pre-op, and pain levels post-op. The most important factor in health and recovery is what you think so setting yourself up as a good patient is key to success.
Over 2000 years ago Hippocrates said, ‘Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food’, and in preparation for any surgical procedure it's important to eat very, very well. Choose the very best foods possible during the preparation period. A balanced diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, all of which contain good levels of fibre. Following a vegetarian diet at this time gives the digestive tract a rest and can be of great benefit if the meat component of a meal (which is an acid in the system) is replaced with more vegetables which are alkaline. For good health a ratio of 4:1 alkaline to acid food is advised.
General anesthesia acts to paralyze peristalsis, the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine that create the wave-like movements that push the contents of the digestive tract forward. Good hydration and fibre make this process easier and both help to detoxify the body, further aiding a speedier recovery. This may be a time to take a short course of high quality supplements – Pysllium Husk can soften the stool and a good acidophilus will help repopulate gut bacteria. Do your research or be guided by a trusted practitioner as cheap supplements are not helpful. All medication, prescribed or self-prescribed needs to be discussed with your doctor or surgeon prior to the procedure. If you are undergoing homeopathic treatment then talk to your homeopath about how Arnica can help with preparation and recovery. It will not interact with a general anesthetic nor with any other medications or supplements and some doctors, dentists and physiotherapists now recommend its use.
Any exercise (with the exception of that which is too intense) will be of benefit before surgery, as will being at the recommended weight for your height and build. For some people this will mean losing some pounds and for others this will require gaining some. You may not have a lot of time to prepare but doing your best in this respect will pay dividends. Whatever your starting point, half an hour in the fresh air daily is of benefit to mind and body. Walk or cycle if you can but if that isn’t possible then find a sheltered spot where you can be surrounded by nature and absorb some immune-boosting vitamin D from the sun’s rays.
It’s rare that anyone looks forward to surgery but if it is necessary for you then embrace it as best as you can, prepare well with relaxation, nutrition and exercise and give yourself the greatest chance of avoiding complications and enjoying the speediest recovery possible.
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