Dr. Bernie Siegel's Advice for 

Relaxation: Tests or Surgery

The first thing he advises is to make sure you know WHY the test or procedure is being done. ASK THE DOCTOR.

Mentally rehearse the experience-he suggests GUIDED IMAGERY (a visualization technique often used by athletes). "Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute or so. Picture yourself undergoing the procedure one step at a time. See yourself walking into the exam room...chatting calmly with the nurse...positioning yourself. Notice that you feel relaxed, pain-free and "in control".

As you see yourself completing the procedure, imagine yourself feeling energized and happy that you took the steps necessary to get your health back on track."

Bernie suggests this method be done four times in the week before the event. He says it can reduce pain and promote fewer "side" effects.

Aromatherapy is recommended and he states that doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC reported "that the percentage of patients who panicked during MRI dropped dramatically once the exam room was scented with vanilla and music was played".

He also suggests renting a humorous video or looking at a book of jokes to "keep your spirits high in the days before and after the procedure. Laughter is a terrific antidote to tension". And studies do show that it alters brain chemistry and it is known to produce natural painkillers in the body.

From the publication Bottom Line Health, February 2000 (Ann's husband subscribes).

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