Guided imagery is a powerful type of visualization that can speed up the natural healing process. If you’re recovering from surgery, hoping a disease goes into remission, or just want to be healthier overall, you might find visualization to be an effective, holistic “treatment.”
“I would visualize things coming to me,” says the successful Canadian actor Jim Carrey. “It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”
Visualization can help you be more successful, wealthy, and healthy – and it can help you achieve your goals – but you do have to work at it. For more information on guided imagery, click Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life. And, read on to learn what visualization is and how it affects the natural healing process.
What is Visualization or Guided Imagery?
Also known as therapeutic relaxation, guided imagery is an alternative therapy that is noninvasive and drug-free. Visualization is a process that affects every aspect of your body. If, for instance, you’re practicing guided imagery to improve the natural healing process, you control your breathing and relax your muscles. It’s similar to the healing effects of prayer: you focus on something specific – such as a therapist’s voice or the instructions on a DVD or audio tape. You enter into a state of deep relaxation, success, and wholeness – similar to meditation.
In guided imagery, you consciously imagine something – and that something depends on what your goal is. If your goal is healing from cancer, for instance, you’d visualize your cells and organs as strong, powerful, and healthy. If it’s stress reduction before surgery, you’d imagine the surgery from beginning to end – with a capable surgeon, caring nurses, and a successful outcome. You could even visualize getting a wonderful night’s sleep before the surgery, enjoying the drive to the hospital, and relaxing in your own bed at home after the operation.
How Visualization Works
Visualization or therapeutic relaxation sends positive energy to the emotional control center of the brain. Those messages then travel to your immune system and autonomic nervous system, which affects your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates.
Guided imagery is progressive muscle relaxation. When you relax and visualize the outcome you want, you focus on positive images and emotions. You let positive hormones flood your body, and you concentrate on keeping that positive energy strong.
The key to visualization is that your body can’t differentiate between reality and thoughts. That is, if you imagine being terrified or furious, your body immediately responds by creating the appropriate hormones and responses. In guided imagery or visualization, you imagine positive events — and your body responds in healthy ways.
- Lower psychological distress for cancer patients.
- Reduce chronic pain in people of all ages.
- Decrease blood pressure.
- Reduce psychological distress in pre-operative patients.
- Help smokers quit smoking.
- Help with depression and various mood disorders.
- Prevent or lighten migraines or other headaches.
- Eases stress and anxiety.
Guided imagery can be an effective supplement to conventional medicine and the natural healing process. Visualization may not take the place of prescription medications or surgeries – it they can provide huge health benefits to regular medical treatments.
Do you practice visualization – or do you have any questions about it? I welcome your comments below…