This mind-body therapy uses your imagination to help you relax, relieve symptoms, stimulate your body’s healing responses, access inner strengths and resources, and tolerate procedures and treatments better.
Guided imagery at a glance
Guided imagery includes several techniques from simple visualization and direct imagery-based suggestion to metaphor and story-telling. Guided imagery is enhanced by using as many senses as possible: sight, smell, sound, and body sensing. It is used to relieve symptoms, to stimulate healing responses in the body, to access inner resources, and to help you tolerate medical procedures and treatments more easily. Guided imagery is also used in teaching relaxation involving the relationship between mental (psyche) and physical (physiological) processes. Interactive Guided Imagery (IGI) is a specific way of using imagery that is particularly effective in helping patients use their own inner resources.
Guided imagery shows benefits in reducing many side effects and symptoms common during cancer or cancer treatments, especially depression and pain. It is often combined with progressive muscle relaxation and sometimes other mind-body therapiesapproaches that enhance your mind’s capacity to positively affect your body’s function and symptoms. Some interventions focus on calming your mind, improving focus, enhancing decision-making capacity, managing stress, or resolving conflict. Other interventions have a goal of relaxing both your mind and your body. such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or hypnosis.
In this review, we look at guided imagery’s effects, but it is often part of or used in combination with one or more other mind-body therapies as listed here. We cannot separate out the effects of guided imagery alone. We report which therapies are included in each study and each summary.
- Breathing techniques
- Psychosocial therapies
- Relaxation techniques
CancerChoices ratings for guided imagery
We rate guided imagery on seven attributes, with 0 the lowest rating and 5 the highest.
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