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Man Hypnotizes Himself for Surgery
LONDON (April 22) - A
British man who hypnotized himself before hand surgery last week so he could
skip the anesthetic says he was fully awake and pain-free during the 83-minute
Professional hypno-therapist and psychotherapist Alex Lenkei, 61, put himself
into a deep trance so he wouldn't feel the pain -- he says it took him only 30
seconds to put himself under.
During the surgery, some
bone at the base of his thumb was removed, and some joints were fused in an
attempt to improve his arthritis.
Lenkei says anesthetic has gotten him nauseous before, and he just feels
avoiding it is healthier than using it, in part because it takes awhile to get
it out of your system.
Doctors "were using a chisel, hammer to basically break a sort of walnut-sized
bone in the hand to take it out. They also used small medical saw to attach
tendon to the thumb," he told Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Tuesday.
"I didn't feel anything at all," Lenkei says. "There was no pain, just very deep
relaxation. I was aware of everything that was going on in the (surgical)
theater. I was aware of the consultant tugging and pulling during the operation.
But there was no pain.
"And at the same time, the anesthetist had my vital signs monitored all the
time. They were fully in control of everything. They hooked me up with reference
to anesthetic if I needed it, but it was not necessary."
This wasn't the first time Lenkei went that route, he says: "In 1996, I had a
hernia operation with no anesthetic. But at that time, I had a colleague with me
to stand by with hypnosis. And, being a professional, I know how to go into what
they call deep hypnosis. And the local hospital was kind enough to actually
allow me to use hypnosis for the operation."
Lenkei says there's a
lesson to be learned here for the medical profession, "basically, that hypnosis
can be actually used post- and pre-operation to actually help the patient
(relax) for a much better successful operation. And I feel that doctors ought to
investigate this in a lot more detail and actually use it for the benefit of the
Lenkei says people can heal more quickly if hypnosis is used, and patients are
A doctor [who] was in the operating room says only a small percentage of people
would be able to put themselves into such a deep trance, so it wouldn't work for
large numbers of people.
However, it's interesting to note that hypnosis was used quite widely before
anesthetic was developed.
Copyright 2008, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
[IMPORTANT NOTE: What the doctor said
about only a small percentage of people being able to put themselves into such a
deep trance is misleading. Only a small percentage of people have TRAINED
themselves to go into such a deep trance at will. However, many people with no
previous experience enter trances strong enough to block pain with the help of a