Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care: School of Medicine: University of California, Irvine
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Preparing for Surgery - Mind, Body and Spirit Class

Increase your knowledge of anesthesia and surgery by joining the Preparing for Surgery - Mind, Body and Spirit class. This class will help you increase your understanding of anesthesia and surgery and learn relaxation techniques to promote wellness.


Free Sessions every first & third Monday of each month
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

UC Irvine Health Douglas Hospital
101 The City Drive South
Family Room 3001
Orange, CA 92868
Map & Directions

Call our toll-free telephone number 877-UCI-DOCS (877-824-3627) to get scheduled or to learn more.

The meeting is in two parts; the first section is a 45 minutes presentation by an attending anesthesiologist (Dr. Abraham Rosenbaum, Dr. Anna L. Harris or Dr. Leslie Garson), discussing in detail the sequence of events during the day of surgery. In addition, the discussion has a detailed description of anesthesia, options, alternatives, risks and benefits. The audience is encouraged to participate and ask any questions. We believe that the calm and nurturing environment of this workshop provides an excellent opportunity for fruitful dialogue.

The second portion of the class is a presentation by Martha Jensen regarding the mind-body connection. Recently retired, Ms. Jensen has been the meditation for health facilitator for patient health education for the last 10 years. She will lead the group in a guided imagery session focused on preparing for successful surgery that can be immediately used by the attendees to practice at home before, and even following, their surgery.

You will learn about:

  • Anesthesia, surgery, and pain management strategies
  • What to expect at the hospital before, during, and after surgery
  • The connection between emotional well-being, health and healing
  • What you can do to best prepare for your surgery
  • Support services that are available

Preparing for Surgery and Recovery Handbook pdf icon small navigation down arrow

Preoperative Mind Body Patient Preparation

Through the ages scientists and humanitarians alike have studied the connection and interaction between the mind and the body. The belief that the mind is a powerful element influencing our physical well-being has become a fascination and a common ground for discussion among both scientists and spiritualists. The state of our mind has been found to affect both the body's physiology and it's immune system and as such can either defeat or contribute to an illness.

Major life stressors and associated anxiety are mental processes that can adversely affect the body's ability to heal. Surgery is one of the most stressful events of life. It involves many fears; the fear of the unknown and loss of control, fear of pain and fear of death just to name a few. Numerous studies have proposed that there is a connection between the degree of anxiety a patient experiences and the outcome of that patient's surgical experience. Elements of the surgical process, such as the requirement for anesthesia, or use of post-op pain medication and anti-emetics can be affected by how a patient processes the anxiety he has related to surgery. Other outcomes such as length of hospital stay, rate of infection and complication rates can also be affected by stress.

We, at UC Irvine Health, strongly believe that preoperative mind-body preparation is invaluable and can enhance the surgical experience. By providing the patient with specific knowledge pertaining to their imminent surgical experience and various relaxation techniques, we allow the patient to have a measure of control over their surgical experience and thereby eliminating some of their fears.

Exploring the Unknown: Education of the Pre-op Patient

We believe that providing the patient with information regarding the surgical process and anesthesia can substantially reduce anxiety and stress. Questions such as "Where do I show up the morning of surgery," "Why do I have to fast for 12 hours prior to surgery?" and "What should I bring to the OR?" are all covered in the presentation. In addition, questions regarding length of stay, post-op restrictions, use or necessity of pain medication and anti-emetics are also covered.

For some patients anesthesia is more of a concern than the surgery itself. There are many misleading anesthesia beliefs in the community. Answering such simple questions as why one might experience a sore throat following a general anesthetic, how safe anesthesia is and what techniques are used to monitor patients during a procedure can decrease the degree of anxiety substantially. Moreover, the opportunity to ask questions and explore concerns with an anesthesiologist several days prior to surgery has been reported by patients to be key in their reduction of stress.

Learning Self Relaxation Techniques

Self relaxation techniques are simple but effective methods for training the mind to reduce anxiety. Replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations, providing methods for constructive thinking and enhancing emotional resources for the promotion of well-being and healing are helpful techniques which can be performed individually anytime and in any place. Techniques such as yoga breathing, "mindful" thinking, meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery are covered and briefly taught so that the participant can use them prior to and following their surgical experience in order to decrease tension, promote healing and reduce pain.

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