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.
Safety and precautions
If the following precautions are heeded, guided imagery and related mind-body therapies will have minimal risk:
- Guided imagery shouldn’t be offered as a stand-alone treatment for any cancer.
- Caution should be used in people with mental illness, especially psychosis or diffuse dissociative disorders. These people, who have difficulty distinguishing between inner and outer reality, should work with a qualified mental health professional.
- People with a tendency toward relaxation-induced anxiety will become more anxious. Those with a more severe case would be best served by a qualified mental health professional.
- People may link their ability to help themselves via mind-body therapies to thinking they caused their cancer because of mind-body error or neglect. Offer these techniques as an “opportunity to participate in their efforts toward recovery or acceptance and not be construed as ‘blaming the victim.'”