Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

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31 Oct

4203bWe got this amazing note from a Navy nurse, who has maybe used guided imagery to benefit people in more ways than we've seen in a long time. Too bad we can't just clone her and put her on the road to sing the praises of this simple, user-friendly, portable, inexpensive technique. She's quite the point person. Here she is:

I have been using guided imagery since 1994, when I worked on an oncology unit. Since then I have used guided imagery extensively in my personal life, predominately for chronic pain from interstitial cystitis (since 1996) and hip pain from arthritis.

For many years I read the pain imagery from Ms. Naparstek's first book, Staying Well with Guided Imagery, to all my childbirth preparation classes (this was before you made the imagery for Pregnancy & Childbirth, and was an avid guided imagery advocate to all who were receptive to the idea.

30 Oct

[Ed. Note: The findings from this study contradict a lot of other studies that conclude otherwise, but we thought we should post it just the same, to be "fair and balanced". It's not clear why this study showed such disappointing results – could be low numbers or the quality of the interventions – hard to say.]

Researchers from National University School of Health and Human Services in Henderson, Nevada, developed a biofeedback-assisted relaxation training program to help nursing students who experience such debilitating test anxiety that they are unable to demonstrate their knowledge and therefore underperform academically.

Anxiety was measured using Spielberger's Test Anxiety Inventory and also by monitoring peripheral skin temperature, pulse, and respiration rates during the training. Participants were introduced to diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic training.

29 Oct

If you're looking for lively, controversial conversation, introduce the topic of Daylight Saving Time. The concept of stealing an hour of daylight by rearranging our days, changing the time on our clocks and attempting to manipulate our natural circadian rythyms seems perfectly acceptable to some people.

"An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later."—Winston Churchill, obviously a fan.

On the flip side, consider this anonymous comment, "Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket," and Harry S. Truman's comment, "Daylight Saving Time—a monstrosity in timekeeping."

28 Oct

Dear BR,

I am middle-aged and still unable to quit biting my fingernails. I have tried all sorts of things: gloves, bandaids, bitter flavored topicals, crocheting. I wonder if this is a form of self-injury or maybe pica. Only time I definitely don't bite my nails is if my hands are dirty, and, yes, I've been known to get up and go wash my hands so I can bite the nails.

I often "decide" not to do this anymore, but when the urge hits, usually while watching TV or reading, it's as if my priorities shift and I feel some kind of distracted anxiety if I don't bite them. I was eight yrs old when this started. I hated the sensation of having my nails trimmed and my sister taught me how to "trim" them myself.

26 Oct

I'm honored to guest blog for Belleruth while she travels this week. It is National Bullying Prevention Month, and for this column I decided to talk about extremely common forms of "self-bullying" – "fat talk" and body shaming. Both of these are unfortunately common and at odds with the expectation that we should treat everyone – ourselves included - with respect, compassion, and kindness.

As a woman, I'm struck by how often we criticize ourselves for being "too much of this" and "not enough of that." It is so ingrained for us to feel we must not take up too much space – literally or metaphorically. We criticize ourselves for the normal, largely unavoidable effects of aging, or for having bodies that differ from the airbrushed images we see in the media. We find fault with ourselves even despite objective information to the contrary.

24 Oct

This email came to us from a physician who suffered a painful, ruptured cervical disk. He had serious reservations about opting for back surgery if he could use other, less invasive methods, and guided imagery helped him with the pain enough to allow him to hold out and use yoga and chiropractic to get the job done. Check it out:

Dear Health Journeys,

I have experienced first hand how effective guided imagery can be. I am a long- time distributor and have always believed in the efficacy of imagery, but experiencing its benefits personally takes my enthusiasm to a whole, new level.

I used the Ease Pain imagery during a very rough time with a ruptured cervical disk, which is now fully under control, thanks in large part to Chiropractic and Yoga.

23 Oct

Researchers from the UCLA School of Nursing evaluated a program of early, home based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program to remediate depression in patients recovering from cardiac surgery.

They conducted a randomized controlled trial and enrolled 808 patients who were screened for depressive symptoms, using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) in the hospital and 1 month later. Patients were also interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV; those who met criteria for clinical depression (n = 81) were randomized to CBT (n = 45) or usual care (UC; n = 36). After completion of the UC period, 25 individuals were offered later CBT (UC + CBT).

The outcomes were evaluated after 8 weeks. Compared with the Usual Care group, the CBT group had greater decline in depression scores and greater remission of clinical depression.

22 Oct

In my 20 years of police reporting, I have seen a lion's share of domestic violence reports, and in every one, I feel the pain, fear and despair that could not be written in the allotted space. Police reports are often the culmination of stories that span decades of abuse.

Police officers and emergency medical and health care workers respond to these crises every day and go over and above the call of duty. Police, who are usually first on the scene, do what they can to assist the victims, sort out the facts, make temporary provisions for children and pets and arrest the perpetrators, but it doesn't end there, or in the courts or the prisons.

21 Oct

Question:

I'm a psychologist specializing in PTSD. A client's husband has just received orders to go to Liberia to work on the Ebola crisis. Do you know of or could you develop any imagery that could help prevent PTSD in such health workers who will likely witness scenes of horror that may haunt them in the future? Thanks! It's okay to post this.

20 Oct

Well, it's that time of year again – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And once again we're offering our Pink Ribbon Survive & Thrive Pack, created for all those breast cancer survivors who want to maintain a wellness regimen once treatment is over.

What we found was that people can get pretty anxious when treatment ends, because, even though that's generally a good thing, there's still this feeling of "Well, at least I knew I was doing something – even if the chemo produced nasty side effects, and the radiation therapy was no day at the beach either...".

And this loss of having something to do can be felt especially strongly by people who used guided imagery during that time of treatment, to boost the action of their medical protocols or help with pain or nausea or fatigue, or just to allay anxiety or provide uplift and a sense of mastery. That imagery served a real need.

17 Oct

We were given this wonderful, inspiring story years ago, and it just recently re-surfaced – it's definitely time to share it again. Enjoy!

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to special ed children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools.

At a Chush fundraising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?"

16 Oct

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's school of public health investigated the impact of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) on the mental health of caregivers looking after chronically ill family members.

Caregivers of persons with chronic conditions who scored 7 or above in the Caregiver Strain Index were randomly assigned to an 8-week MBSR group (n = 70) or a self-help control group (n = 71).

Validated instruments were used to assess the changes in symptoms of depression and anxiety, quality of life, self-efficacy, self-compassion and mindfulness. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-intervention and at the 3-month follow-up.