- What is Imagery or Guided Imagery?
- How does Imagery Therapy work?
- How is Imagery useful in the medical setting?
- What are some of the positive results I can expect from using Imagery prior to, or during, a medical procedure?
- Is there a best time and place to do imagery?
- When should I avoid doing Imagery?
A: Imagery is purposeful daydreaming; using your imagination at its best. Thoughts, feelings and the senses work together to create an awareness of what the person is imagining. Sometimes a person is able to "see" images with their imagination, called visualization. Guided Imagery is simply following the guides' directions or suggestions while doing imagery.
A: The mind and body are interconnected. What the mind imagines or perceives, creates an immediate response in the body. For example, when a person thinks of something frightening, the body responds with increased heart rate, shallow respiration, tightened muscles, increased blood pressure, etc. You may also feel afraid.
A: Research indicates that a person's attitude and expectations about surgery, a treatment, medication, or medical procedure may have significant impact on the outcome. Numerous scientific studies have shown that imagery is a very effective tool for eliciting the relaxation response. In a therapy session with a trained healthcare provider, the patient can learn cognitive restructuring to "reframe" fears and negative thoughts into positive ones. Research has shown that for every $1.00 spent on this type of self-care education, $2.50 is saved in medical costs. Patients using therapies like imagery, experience many of the results discussed in the Hypnotherapy Benefits section.
- The ability to release fear and anxiety about the procedure, even related to past negative experiences
- Personal empowerment and a sense of mastery in a difficult situation
- Increased calm, peace of mind and positive energy
- Active participation in my health care, resulting in a stronger partnership with my healthcare team
- Less blood loss during and after surgery
- Better pain management
- Faster healing with fewer complications such as infection
- Being more comfortable going into and coming out of anesthesia, usually requiring less anesthesia
- Fewer and diminished side-effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Often relieves insomnia without medication
A: Imagery done to prepare for a procedure will be most effective if done at a time of day when you feel rested, so as not to fall asleep. Imagery to reduce pain, as a sleep aid, or to reduce treatment side-effects can be done anytime in a quiet place, free of distractions and interruptions. It is helpful to have an area and time set aside that you go to regularly to do imagery. You will find that the more you practice, the easier and more effective the imagery becomes. People often find that imagery works well in a recliner or easy chair.
A: Imagery, and using relaxation/meditation MP3sand CDs, should never be done while driving a vehicle or operating machinery. Because imagery enables you to be in a deep relaxed state of mind, your focus will not be on operating the vehicle or machinery.