Guided Imagery

Martin L. Rossman, M.D., co-founder of The Academy for Guided Imagery, has said: “The imagination is probably a person’s least utilized health resource. It can be used to remember and recreate the past, develop insight into the present, influence physical health, enhance creativity and inspiration, and anticipate possible futures. . . . the internal process involved in worrying yourself sick and imagining yourself well are quite similar.

Our bodies do not discriminate between sensory images in the mind and what we call reality. This opens up numerous possibilities for the effective use of guided imagery during sessions. Imagery may be utilized to create a feeling of peacefulness, to create the inner receptivity to changes that are desired physically and/or emotionally, to access inner wisdom, to prepare for events like surgery, to name just a few. We feel better and more competent when we have a sense of mastery over what is happening.

Imagery has been shown to affect:

  • heart rate
  • respiratory patterns
  • blood pressure
  • brain wave rhythms
  • temperature of tissues
  • levels of hormones and neurotransmitters in the blood
  • gastrointestinal motility and secretions
  • immune system function

Imagery helps to access emotions that may be manifesting as physical ailments, and can be tailored to address the psychological as well as the
physical issues associated with illness. For example, with an autoimmune illness such as rheumatoid arthritis, you can visualize swelling leaving the joints and also that you are kinder to yourself (regarding the body attacking itself). Guided imagery is often used for relief of:

  • chronic pain
  • headaches
  • allergies
  • stress-related gastrointestinal symptoms
  • high blood pressure
  • reproductive irregularities
  • to promote overall wellness, confidence, and improved performance (e.g., in sports)