Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. You can use an instructor, online videos, or scripts to help you through this process.
Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real. An example often used is to imagine an orange or a lemon in great detail—the smell, the color, the texture of the peel. Continue to imagine the smell of the lemon, and then see yourself taking a bite of the lemon and feel the juice squirting into your mouth. Many people salivate when they do this. This exercise demonstrates how your body can respond to what you are imagining.
You can achieve a relaxed state when you imagine all the details of a safe, comfortable place, such as a beach or a garden. This relaxed state may aid healing, learning, creativity, and performance. It may help you feel more in control of your emotions and thought processes, which may improve your attitude, health, and sense of well-being.
Why It Is Done
Guided imagery can help you relax. You can also use it to help reach goals (such as losing weight or quitting smoking), manage pain, and promote healing. Guided imagery can even help you to prepare to take part in a sports event or public speaking.
Guided imagery is safe. But for some people, it may increase anxiety. Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining one with conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to stop using your conventional treatment and use only an alternative therapy.
Author: Healthwise Staff Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
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