Relaxation for Cardiac Surgery

Why try Relaxation? Research shows that Relaxation can be effective at:

  • Restoring a calm and relaxed sense
  • Elevating mood, including reducing anxiety and depression
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving sleep
  • Reducing pain
  • Improving healing after surgery
  • Elevating immune functioning
  • Aiding in lifestyle changes


What is Relaxation? Each of the three Relaxation for Cardiac Surgery tracks contains a narrative to help the body and mind experience deep relaxation through hypnosis and to aid in the preparation and recovery from cardiac surgery. This is achieved through breathing instruction, body relaxation and guided imagery. The narrative was carefully created by Dr. Kim Feingold, Director of Cardiac Behavioral Medicine at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern, and has been scored to music and nature sounds to enhance the relaxation experience. Our patients have shown that listening to these Relaxation tracks before and after surgery can reduce surgical anxieties, improve mood and reduce post-surgical pain. You do not need to believe in hypnotic-assisted relaxation for it to be effective. The benefits you receive from practicing relaxation will likely increase with your frequency of use. In other words, try to use this regularly.


How do I use this Relaxation track?

  • You can stream the audio using the links below or you can download the track to your device.
  • Listen to the appropriate track while you are seated in a comfortable quiet location, like a recliner, chair, couch or bed.
  • Allow yourself 25 minutes of no interruptions to best experience the Relaxation.
  • You can listen to the Relaxation track any time of day, including as you wake up or as you go to sleep.
  • You can listen to the Relaxation multiple times per day, if desired. At least once per day is recommended to obtain optimal results.
  • Do not listen to this Relaxation track while driving or operating machinery.
  • This Relaxation exercise is a hypnotic-induced relaxation and may not be well suited for those with severe psychiatric illness.
  • If you fall asleep while listening to the Relaxation track, no problem – that means you are relaxed!
  • Relaxation is not for everyone. If you do not enjoy this experience, please discontinue its use.


What other resources are available?

  • Cardiac Behavioral Medicine at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern offers services to maximize the overall health and well-being of our cardiac and cardiac surgery patients. Providers address issues such as: cardiac-related depression and anxiety, adjustment to a cardiac diagnosis or event, preparation for surgery, stress management and lifestyle modifications (including weight loss and smoking cessation). Relaxation exercises are just one of many tools the Cardiac Behavioral Medicine providers use to improve the well-being of our cardiac patients. To make an appointment with Cardiac Behavioral Medicine, call 312.NM.HEART.


Relaxation Tracks

Preparing for Surgery (22 min 36 sec)
Healing after Surgery (23 min 20 sec)
Enhancing Wellness (23 min 19 sec)

Instructions for Streaming

  1. Click on the desired link above and your browser will automatically start streaming

Please Note: if you are experiencing streaming issues, then download the desired recording and play the file with your computer's audio program such as iTunes or Windows Media Player.

Instructions for Downloading on a PC

  1. Right click on the desired link above
  2. Click on "Save Link As..."
  3. Choose your destination folder
  4. Click "Save"

Instructions for Downloading on a Mac

  1. Right click on the desired link above
  2. Click on "Download Linked File”
  3. Open your Downloads folder and click the link to play the track in iTunes