By Cindy ChyderSpecial to CSMS MagazineVisualization is quintessential mind/ body healing. When it works, it demonstrates how one can use the mind’s eye to form images that help effect physiological changes. The unconscious plays an undeniable role in wellness and healing, as evidenced by results attributed to the placebo effect and the power of suggestion. Rather than writing these off, guided imagery attempts to lock in and focus the mind’s ability to help heal the body. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and this is the credo of the Academy for Guided Imagery. Difficult to measure, of course, the success of visualization (also called guided imagery) in the West has been bolstered by related research in the fields such as biofeedback and meditation. In those practices, patients also use images to effect (measurable) bodily changes. In visualization therapy, patients who suffer from headaches, chronic pain and even cancer are told that they can contribute a lot to the healing they are hoping to achieve. Images used such as tiny video-game characters “gobbling up” diseased cells in the body, or a pair of “inner hands” holding or supporting an injured or diseased organ can be a lot more than palliative. Visualization has become both a self-help mechanism and a tool of Eastern and Western medicine. In the years ahead, research may be able to move this method forward to the status now enjoyed by its more mechanized cousin, biofeedback.
Imagery International1574 Coburg Rd., Suite 555Eugene, OR 97401www.imageryinternational.orgAcademy for Guided Imagery30765 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 369Malibu, CA 90265800-769-2070www.healthy.net/agiThe Mind/Body Medical Institute824 Boylston St.Chestnut Hill, MA 02467866-509-0732617-991-0102www.mbmi.orgAlso see Learning about Homeopathy