Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

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17 Apr

We got this enthusiastic review of our guided imagery for surgery quite a while ago – an emailer just referred to it. It's signed. Here it is:

Because my CD player broke down at the very last minute, I was only able to hear the guided imagery pre-op meditation one time. I replayed it in my head the night before surgery, and then (because I had no CD player with me) the attending anesthesiologist played Steve Kohn's surgery meditation music for the entire OR staff on their player. (They "loved" it.)

But what was truly astounding was when one of the doctors came to my room to report EXACTLY the words that are in the pre-op meditation. My surgery was "spectacular" (the O.R. team's words), I lost the smallest amount of blood they'd ever seen (10 ml), and it took 2.5 hrs instead of the usual 3 hrs.

On top of that, I was off heavy pain meds within 36 hours and off the Tylenol in another 36 hrs. In 72 hrs I was up and dancing (gently) with my granddaughter! Every doc who visited me took down the name of this CD!

Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D.

16 Apr

Researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS and Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, evaluated the impact of progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and phantom exercises on phantom pain in 51 subjects with unilateral lower limb amputation who experienced phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS).

The randomized controlled prospective trial was conducted on the amputee unit of a rehabilitation hospital, using 2 parallel groups.

The experimental group received combined training of progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery, and phantom exercises 2 times/wk for 4 weeks, while the control group had the same amount of physical therapy dedicated to the residual limb. No pharmacological intervention was initiated during the trial period.

15 Apr

Purple Up! For Military Kids

If you're reading this on April 15, it's not only tax deadline day, it's Purple Up! We are encouraged to wear purple to raise community awareness and support of military children. If you missed the 15th, you have the rest of April. The DOD has designated April the Month of the Military Child, to honor the unique challenges faced by military youth, and celebrate their ability to adapt.

"Parent deployments, frequent moves, a new school every few years, a constant rotation of friends, and, most of all, the threat of a parent being killed in combat--these facts of military life make them more prone to stress and anxiety, but military children are also found to be quite resilient in the face of those demanding pressures."—David Moore, from The Resilliency of the Military Child

13 Apr


Dear Belleruth

My former husband left me (we were in our early-to-late fifties, he being five years younger) after almost twenty years of marriage, saying he wanted to find his "soul mate."

What he didn't say was that he had already found her about two-and-a-half years before that. They had been meeting in secret and also having phone conversations --- 90 in one year alone, that I counted on phone statements that I requested from the phone company.

He and his "friend and confidante," as he referred to her, denied a sexual affair. They said their romantic relationship started two months after he left me, which, coincidentally enough, is also when he made his "friend and confidante" the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, removing our son from it. Is that the behavior of a man who has known a woman for only two months? Well, okay, maybe an imprudent, impulsive man of poor judgment who is impelled by hormones.

12 Apr

Our new landing page is here! We honestly thought we’d be up and running with it last week, but glitches were found, incoherent text needed rewriting, screen sizing issues made right and other tech anomalies set straight.  Check it out! Let us know what you think. We’re going to need to rely on your feedback to fix whatever else we missed.

Infertility Awareness Week is coming up next week, and a terrific parenting blog called My Baba posted a short piece I put together on how to handle all the associated stress, pressure, disappointment and distress that shows up when facing this challenge. I also wanted to make the point that, some of the things people do to manage the stress may also improve their fertility outcomes. Either way, it's a good idea to adopt some of these tips, and I offer seven of them.

If you think it could be useful, please pass this along to any friends, bloggers or organizations that might be interested. It's at

Oh, and dare I say, Happy Spring? Hope so. I believe we may be done with the snow in Northeast Ohio. But, as with our long anticipated landing page, you just never know...

All best,

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10 Apr

We got this note and video clip from a friend a few years ago, and it's really a treat, so we're showing it again. You'll find in the lounges of various Mayo Buildings, there is often a piano, and sometimes people stop to play. This is an enchanting video of two older folks playing a duet in the Gonda Building, to an impromptu audience of delighted and appreciative folks. Click here.

And for a double dose of 'feel-good' medicine, this is the story that generated the video.

And here they are on a return visit, reprising their by now iconic musical number. By this time, he's 91 and she's 85 years old, and they've got a way bigger audience. Awesome.

09 Apr

Researchers from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, looked at the impact of guided imagery on postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing same-day surgical procedures.

Forty-four adults scheduled for head and neck procedures were randomly assigned to 2 groups for this single-blind investigation.

Anxiety and baseline pain levels were documented pre-operatively. Both groups received 28 minutes of privacy, during which subjects in the experimental group listened to a guided imagery compact disk (CD), but control group patients received no intervention.

08 Apr

We see daily news reports of alcohol-related accidents and deaths, many of them involving underage drinking. As a police reporter for two decades, I saw that a large number of incidents that required police action (and some that had tragic consequences) could have been avoided, had alcohol use not been a factor.

This April marks the 29th annual Alcohol Awareness Month, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) theme, For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction, seeks to raise awareness that alcohol consumption starts early and it has a particularly deleterious effect on underage drinkers and the people around them.

07 Apr


I watched Belleruth today being interviewed on London TV. I was amazed. I was abused as a child, from 18 months to 22 years old. During my twenties, whenever a memory or flashback invaded my head, I used to visualize myself as an adult, rescuing me as a child. This had a profound effect on me, and also shifted the dynamics of powerlessness. Although I could not change what happened to me, I did not have to relive the horror in memories or flashbacks. In time, the flashbacks faded away and did not bother me. I am at peace with my childhood.

However, 3 years ago, I was date raped, and I am having difficulties. The memories are not there, although the feelings of terror are. I suffer terrible panic attacks, and I jump from anger and pain to apathy and not leaving the house. How do I get past memories I don't have? Please help.

Kind regards, Carina

05 Apr

Well, after a lot of testing, discussion, teeth-gnashing, pondering and data analysis, it became pretty clear that we needed to have a more user-friendly Health Journeys landing page.

You may remember that about 6 months ago we'd begun a whole, new initiative, to try and introduce guided imagery to a fresh array of people who don't have a clue what it is or what it can do for them.

So, thanks to some changes in search engine optimization and ad words and a lot of back end analysis, we've now got a ton of new people visiting our site for the first time. But a substantial proportion are unable to figure out how to navigate our pages, and end up wandering around in circles, like the Hebrews in the desert, although not for forty years.

We think we've got an improved design, less complicated and more explanatory of mind-body techniques and guided imagery for the newbies, but who knows? We'll be launching it as soon as we work out the few remaining bugs.

But we'll be heavily dependent on feedback from you all, as to whether this new landing page and navigation system is user friendly or not. So please, do not hold back! When this thing goes live, and you've got a few minutes, please tell us, not just if it works for you, but, if you can imagine being somebody who knows nothing about guided imagery, and if it would work for you as well.

Thanks as always for keeping us straight and true.

All best,

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03 Apr

Gratitude is arguably the most high-test, healing emotion we humans can come up with, not to mention the one most associated with quality of life, mental health and wellness. This little poem by Barbara Crooker is just another gentle reminder of where to place our attention – and our expectations. Enjoy!

A Poem by Barbara Crooker

All that is glorious around us
is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn's bright parade. And I think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain's
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

– Barbara Crooker

02 Apr

Researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, compared the effectiveness of two different interventions for distressed survivors of breast cancer – group mindfulness meditation training with yoga vs. supportive-expressive group therapy.

This multisite, randomized controlled trial assigned 271 distressed survivors of stage I to III breast cancer to either a Mindfulness Based Cancer Recovery group (MBCR), a Supportive-Expressive Therapy Group (SET), or a 1-day stress management control condition.

MBCR focused on training in mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga, whereas SET focused on emotional expression and group support. Both intervention groups included 18 hours of professional contact.