Rehabilitation :: Frequently Asked Questions About Guided Imagery
What is guided imagery?
The mind is a powerful healing tool. Using our imagination, we can visualize almost anything. Guided imagery (or visualization) is a therapeutic technique that has been used for centuries. By creating images in the mind, a person can reduce pain and other symptoms associated with his or her condition. The more specific the visualization, the more therapeutic it will likely be. Patients are taught to imagine sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or other sensations to create a kind of daydream that "removes" them from or gives them control over their present situation.
Imagery usually involves a program with set objectives and goals. Patients are guided to visualize their goals and work toward them.
How does guided imagery work?
Guided imagery involves envisioning a certain goal to help cope with health problems or the task or skill a child is trying to learn or master. Guided imagery is most often used as a relaxation technique that involves sitting or lying quietly and imagining a favorite, peaceful setting like a beach, meadow or forest. Another example is the Simonton method--a method in which a cancer patient imagines Pac Men (from the old Pac Man video game) gobbling up bad cancer cells.
Is guided imagery effective?
Studies have shown that guided imagery can help the mind and body relax. It can help in managing anxiety, stress, and depression; help reduce pain, lower blood pressure, and lessen nausea; and give people a better sense of control and well-being.