Holistic Healing for Surgery

A trip to the hospital doesn’t have to mean a trip away from natural health. Start planning for a speedy recovery before you ever leave home.

| January/February 2000

  • Aromatherapy can make your hospital stay more pleasant.

  • A portable CD player can block out negative sounds during surgery and soothe you in the recovery room.

More than 40 million Americans undergo in-patient surgery each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. For many, the experience is negative—traumatic for both the body and mind.

If a planned surgery is in your future, you needn’t feel that circumstances are beyond your control; many healing modalities can make the event less stressful and the recovery smoother. The nutrients and herbs suggested below are designed to strengthen the body, build the blood, heal tissue, and increase immune function. Don’t worry if you don’t find specific instructions for your type of surgery—these recommendations are appropriate for any type of surgery.

“Tissue is tissue,” says Alan Gaby, M.D., a professor at Bastyr University in Washington and the former president of the American Holistic Medical Association. “A general health program is all that’s needed for surgery.”

Before Surgery: Nutrition and Herbs

A combination of a nutritious diet, strengthening herbs, and a vitamin and mineral supplement plan is recommended prior to surgery by many health-care practitioners. It’s generally agreed that starting your healing program about three to four weeks before the surgery is best. In emergency cases when you don’t have time to plan, begin the protocol as soon as you find out you need to have surgery.

Don’t skimp on healthy food. “Nutrition before surgery is paramount,” says Stephen Brown, a naturopathic doctor living in Bandon, Oregon. He recommends lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and foods high in vitamins C and A.

“It’s also important to get sufficient protein in the diet,” he says.



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