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Pre-op anxiety is helped by complementary medicine

Harold Mandel's picture

A new study which was done shows that a combination of complementary medicine along with standard care for preoperative anxiety decreases anxiety levels in patients.


It is normal to suffer from anxiety prior to surgery. With complementary approaches patients may experience less preoperative anxiety.

Preoperative anxiety has a significant impact on the patient

One of the most significant factors which predicts mortality in postoperative cardiovascular patients has been found to be preoperative anxiety. High blood pressure, rapid pulse, sugar metabolism alterations, along with other symptoms may all be manifestations of preoperative anxiety. The postoperative recovery period can also be influenced by and extended by preoperative anxiety. Clearly preoperative anxiety has a significant impact on the patient.

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This study was done by Samuel Attias while he was studying for his master’s studies in the School of Public Health at the University of Haifa. Professor Lital Keinan Boker of the University of Haifa and Dr. Elad Schiff of Bnai Zion Hospital in Haifa supervised this study.

Patients who received the combination of complementary medicine and standard care showed a decrease in their level of anxiety

Together the researchers examined whether complementary medicine practices, used alongside conventional care, could help to lower anxiety levels. The complementary medical care used in the study included reflexology, acupuncture, individual guided imagery, or a combination of reflexology and guided imagery. It was observed in patients who received the combination of complementary medicine and standard care overall showed a decrease of 60 percent in their level of anxiety.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports it is completely normal to feel anxious prior to surgery. Even when dealing with operations which can restore your health or which may even save your life, the majority of people feel very uncomfortable about surgery. It is very important to make certain the fears and anxiety about surgery do not become overwhelming.

Although there is not a cure-all for anxiety there are many things that can help patients to cope better with anxiety before surgery. Special support in hospitals along with family and friends can help. The researchers at the University of Haifa have concluded complementary treatments are apparently helpful when considered in the context of preoperative anxiety. It's therefore a good idea to maintain a positive attitude about the value of complementary medicine in this context.