Hypnosis Before Surgery? Pain and Opioid Crisis

Welcome to Trailhead Health. In this video we ask Roberta Fernandez a Board Certified Hypnotist and Certified Hypnosis Instructor how she became interested in hypnosis and listen to what she has to say about pain management, opioids and hypnosis.

Hi there, I‘m Roberta Fernandez, I’m a Board Certified Hypnotist here at the Fare Hypnosis Center. I’m also a Certified Hypnosis Instructor. We bring people into the training center and we teach them how to be a hypnotist and certify them.  We are one of just two schools that are licensed to do that in state of MN. I’m really excited about that and really proud of it.

I didn’t grow up to be a hypnotist, it found me and I what I mean by that is I had a friend call me up and say, “Hey are you watching Oprah’s super soul Sunday?” I said NO. She said, “You have got to watch this guy, he is amazing.”  So I turned it on and the guy that she was interviewing was really fascinating to me. I went to his website to check him out after the show was over, turns out he was doing a retreat in NY state, not far from where my daughter was going to college, and I thought perfect I can do a road trip and go visit her.  

I just went. It was an amazing 4 days that I spent there, and I thought I want more of this guy. He only does 2 training a year and his wait list was a mile long, so I thought hmmm, he used hypnosis in his work, I wonder if I became a hypnotist, if I learned how to do that, I would have a better chance to get into his class, so I came to back to MN and I found someone to train me, as it turned out that was not the case. But I did get in his class and I became a hypnotist and as I was taking the course I had tremendous knee pain and I could barely navigate the grocery store.  I told the instructor being the kind of I-need-proof-person that I am, I said, “Can you get me out of pain? I want you to prove to me this stuff works.” He said, “Sre if you want to be out of pain that can happen.” I made an appointment to see him and viola I didn’t have any more pain after a couple sessions. Eventually I knew I had to have my knees replaced because I was falling down stairs all the time even though I didn’t have pain it had to be done.

So when I started practicing and preparing myself for that surgery, I had both knees done at the same time. It’s called a full bilateral knee replacement. I knew that I could manage my pain. I always like to show this to clients, because being able to do this on my own, this is how many pills that did not go in my body because I didn’t use any pain meds for my surgery. I only used self hypnosis, and this, not having these in my body helped me recover so much faster and everybody was amazed.

Makes me wonder why this isn’t part of standard regimen or protocol when someone is getting ready to do a surgery.  This would go such a long way in reducing the addiction issue and problem with over prescribing of opioids?  

You are right Raina. A couple years ago I wrote a book on opioids and pain because doctors need another tool.  Doctors go through medical school learning to prescribe drugs, because that’s what they know and that’s what they have.  Hypnosis is not always a substitute for anything, it is a compliment to everything. It can take whatever you are doing and help make it more effective.  Yes, I didn’t have to take any drugs when I had my bilateral knee replacement, but that is not going to be the case for everybody. Not everybody would be able to do that.  Everyone is going to be different, and it depends on how much they practice beforehand to what extend it’s going to be. But you are right, hypnosis before surgery? There is a lot of medical scientific research out there about effectiveness of one 15 minutes session 20 minutes before surgery.  The results are remarkable, how much less medication, how much less anesthesia, how much more stable the patient is during the surgery from their heart rate, blood pressure, all of that, and then the recovery times are shortened. There is a tremendous amount of scientific around hypnosis, that was important to me, when I started.  I’m kind of a geek about that. You have to prove things to me. I really want that. Not all my clients need that but some of them do too.