Imagery is a flow of thoughts you can see, hear, feel, smell or taste. It is the expression of dreams and daydreams; memories and reminiscence; plans, projections and possibilities. It is the language of the arts, the emotions, and most important, of the deeper self. Everyone uses imagery.
When we worry, we’re using imagery unconsciously, and often to our own detriment. Imagining possible disasters, we react with physical and psychological distress all the time we are worrying. The excessive physical toll of habitual worry, with its accompanying “fight or flight” response, may lead to symptoms such as headaches, neck or back pain, or ulcers; to self-damaging behaviors like cigarette smoking, eating disorders, alcoholism, or drug abuse; or even leave us vulnerable to serious illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, and cancer.
The good news is that learning to use our imaginations consciously can be of great help in preventing or treating these symptoms and conditions. Using guided imagery, we can have positive effects on our heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestive function, sexual function and even our immune response.
Guided imagery describes a range of techniques from simple visualization and direct imagery-based suggestion, through metaphor and story-telling. Guided imagery can be used to help you learn relaxation, to relieve symptoms, to stimulate healing responses, and to help you tolerate medical procedures and treatments more easily. Using an interactive approach, guided imagery includes inner dialogues with our own imagination in order to discover the meaning of symptoms or illness, alleviate distress, and promote overall wellness.
Guided imagery processes include both active and receptive imagery. Active imagery communicates your conscious intentions, or requests, to your unconscious mind. It consists of imagining your desired goal as if it is already achieved while in a relaxed passive state of mind. Receptive imagery helps you to become aware of unconscious patterns, needs, and potential for change. Together, active and receptive imagery can help you create the healing imagery most appropriate and effective for you.Using imagery, symptoms can be used to discover important needs that are not being met. Parts of ourselves that have been forgotten, unloved or neglected can come into view and be reclaimed. Emotions expressing themselves as physical symptoms can be understood, felt, and resolved, and the symptoms resolve as well.
Imagery is one of the most powerful, yet least utilized healing resources available in medicine. Other than nature, or God, the human imagination is the most powerful force on earth. It can shape our environment, and our inner environment, more powerfully than anything else we know, if we learn how to use it.
A great deal of medical research over the last 40 years shows that imagery has a powerful influence on health, healing and well-being. It can help with a very wide range of illnesses and is compatible with any system of medicine or healing.
Guided imagery is easy to learn, effective, safe, affordable and accessible. Programs and lessons are available in CD, MP3 and other formats. They can be used alone, in the comfort of your own home, anytime they are needed. For more information, or to order and try it out yourself, go to www.thehealingmind.org