Guided imagery is a visualization technique that helps clients to focus on positive images to heal their bodies. The Simonton method of guided imagery, was developed by thr oncologist O. Carl Simonton and his wife, to help patients that wereundergoing treatments for cancer. This method taught cancer patients to picture their immune system cells as "gobbling up" cancer cells like "Pac Man," and destroying them.
Guided imagery is based on the idea that the mind can affect the functions of the body. We as hypnotherapists know this can be true. Stimulating the brain through imagery can have a direct effect on both the endocrine and nervous systems, which lead to changes in immune system function. Guided imagery is used to promote relaxation, reduce stress and help the mind influence the body in positive ways.
"A review of 46 studies conducted from 1966 to 1998 by the American Cancer Society found that guided imagery was effective in managing stress, anxiety, depression, pain and the side effects of chemotherapy. A recent randomized clinical trial involving women with early stage breast cancer found guided imagery was also useful for easing anxiety related to radiation therapy, including fears about the equipment, surgical pain, and recurrence of cancer. Although one uncontrolled, exploratory study suggested that guided imagery can increase survival rates for people with cancer, there is no scientific evidence these techniques can cure cancer or any other disease.
Carol L. Baird, an associate professor of nursing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., recently tested guided imagery with a relaxation component among older women suffering from osteoarthritis. Half of the 28 volunteers in the pilot study listened to recordings that described a pleasant scene and guided listeners to engage all of their senses. After 12 weeks, the experimental group experienced a significant reduction in pain compared with women in the control group. The guided-imagery group also had increased mobility, the study showed. Interestingly, a separate study involving the same volunteers found that guided imagery with relaxation seemed to improve their quality of their life. "
With hypnosis, we can take guided imagery even further and help our clients to release negative feelings and emotions and get a different perspective.