Imagery or Visualization

Introduction

Advocates of guided, therapeutic imagery believe that one's imagination can be a potent healer.  Imagery can relieve pain, speed healing and cure hundreds of ailments. It is especially helpful in treating pain, depression, impotence, allergies, and asthma.

Images and Other Senses Are the Means Used by the Brain to Communicate with Our Other Organs

Imagery is one of the most fundamental techniques. Images aren't necessarily limited to pictures but can be sounds, tastes, smells, or a combination of sensations.

As an example, imagine holding a fresh, juicy lemon in your hand. Perhaps you can feel its texture or see the vividness of its yellow skin. As you slice it open, you see the juice squirt out of it. The lemon's tart aroma is overwhelming. Finally, you suck on it and taste the sour flavor as the juices roll over your tongue. More than likely, your reacted in some way to that description. For example, you may have begun to salivate.

Imagery Can Involve Negative Visualizations Too

It is estimated that an average person has about 10,000 thoughts or images flashing through their consciousness each day. Perhaps half are negative, such as anxiety. A steady dose of worry may make you more susceptible to problems ranging from aches to arthritis. The other half are positive.  By harnessing them, you may fortify yourself against disease.  If you can learn to direct and control the images in your head, you can help your body heal itself.

Steven Covey, in his best seller, Seven Habits of the Most Effective People, suggested that we might be able to  use our brain to create positive images which he called affirmations.  

How Effective Is Imagery?

Imagery had been found to be very effective for the treatment of stress. Researchers at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio found that people with cancer who used imagery while receiving chemotherapy felt more relaxed and were better prepared for their treatment than those who didn't use the technique.

Studies indicate that imagery works best when it is used in conjunction with a relaxation technique.  Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and sit comfortably in a chair. You can also use one of the yoga or meditation postures. Dim the lights, close your eyes, take in a few deep breaths, and picture yourself descending an imaginary staircase. With each step, imagine that you feel more and more relaxed.

Suggested by experts or allow your mind to create one of its own. Let the image become more vivid and in focus. Don't worry if it seems to fade in and out.

If several images come to mind, choose one and stick with it for that session.  Each time you do this; imagine that your ailment is completely cured at the end of the session.

At the end of your session, take a few more deep breaths and picture yourself re-climbing the imaginary staircase and gradually becoming aware of your surroundings. Open your eyes, stretch, smile and go on with your day.

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Last modified: 08/06/08