Painful emotions and images from the past affect us physically. When we conjure up those memories, we may find ourselves right back in the painful moment as if it were happening again. This can make us feel anxious, depressed and in more physical pain.
The human imagination, however, can be a powerful healing tool. Guided imagery is a healing technique that helps to deliberately create positive, healing images to counteract negative images.
Guided imagery is the process of focusing the mind, accessing intuition and deepening inner awareness. Research shows that guided imagery can reduce anxiety, decrease pain and shorten the length of hospital stays. Studies also show that people who are calm and relaxed recover more quickly from surgery.
During guided imagery, you listen to a recorded or live voice of a guide or therapist who helps you achieve a state of deep relaxation. Once you are relaxed, your guide will help you to travel into the part of your body or psyche/soul that is in pain and ask it what it needs from you. At this point you engage your deep inner wisdom or intuition to help you to heal. You may also use imagery to direct your own inner healing resources to the part of your body-mind or your life that you want to transform.
Studies show that guided imagery can help reduce pain, insomnia, anxiety and depression. It can also lower blood pressure and help people heal faster from surgery, lose weight and quit smoking. Olympic athletes have demonstrated the ability of the mind to improve competitive performance by combining their physical training with guided imagery.