Relaxation techniques

Knowing a few simple relaxation and focusing techniques can help you avoid tensing your muscles or becoming faint during any difficult pathology procedure. Although the practitioners performing these procedures are generally very skilful and experienced at putting people at their ease,  the following techniques can be helpful.  If you need pathology tests frequently and are anxious, its worth practising these skills at home.

Breathe — Take in three slow breaths, counting one to three for each and breathing through your nose. Push your stomach out as you breathe in (to breathe more deeply). Breathe out through your mouth as you count to six. Slow down the breathing in if you start to feel lightheaded.

Relax your muscles — Consciously relax your muscles. Let them feel loose.

Focus — Find a focal point to look at, or think of a pleasing image.

Count — Count slowly and silently one to ten.

Talk — Chat with someone in the room. The distraction can relax you.

Generally speaking, pathology tests are less intrusive and more comfortable than they were in the past. These days, sample collection equipment has been specially designed with patient comfort in mind.

Understanding what will happen, communicating your needs to the health care providers who are assisting you, using simple relaxation techniques, and knowing how to take care of any associated physical pains will help you. Even the most apprehensive among us can be comfortable and prepared for a pathology test.  The next time your doctor requests some 'routine tests' you can take comfort in knowing the routine.