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Clinical hypnotherapy can relieve pre-surgery anxiety, says consultant

PETALING JAYA: Going into surgery can cause a lot of anxiety for many, but experts say that clinical hypnotherapy can help patients get rid of this fear.

Dr Anand Chandrasegaran uses clinical hypnotherapy to treat patients with acute procedural anxiety, a condition which can make patients extremely anxious before surgery.

But just one session of hypnotherapy before surgery can reverse this, making patients more relaxed and less fearful.

“The results are measured by patients needing less pain medication during and after surgery, shorter surgery time, and faster recovery with less time in the hospital bed,” said Anand, a consultant anaesthetist and crucial care specialist at Columbia Asia Hospital.

He said patients have an option for pain relief without drugs, adding that routine procedures such as wound cleaning and the changing of dressing can become more tolerable for patients with hypnotherapy.

Anand said clinical research into hypnotic analgesia, or the reduced sensitivity to pain under hypnotic suggestion, has accelerated over the past two decades, providing empirical evidence that clinical hypnotherapy is effective, has a neurophysiological basis, and is essentially free of side effects.

Research from Universiti Malaya supports the inclusion of clinical hypnotherapy in some patients faced with chronic pain and surgery, said Anand, who is among the few anaesthetists using clinical hypnotherapy in Malaysia.

In 2015, the health ministry recognised that clinical hypnotherapy has a role to play in pain management. However, the ministry said clinical hypnotherapy was meant to support, and not replace, surgical procedures.

“Clinical hypnotherapy is adjunctive and not designed to replace pharmaceutical intervention.

“Patient care comes from both pharmacological and non-pharmacological care,” said Anand, who was addressing 500 doctors at a webinar on medical hypnosis and pain management.

The webinar was organised by the London College of Clinical Hypnosis Asia (LCCH Asia), where Anand was trained.

LCCH Asia principal Sheila Menon said the college is the only institution offering training in hypno-sedation and hypno-anaesthesia in the region.

She said clinical hypnotherapy is a growing field used to manage a wide range of symptoms and conditions such as irritable bowel disorder, smoking cessation, skin allergies, insomnia and chronic or lifestyle illnesses.

This post was featured on Free Malaysia today. Link here

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