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Does Immune Cell Guided Imagery Have To Be So Warlike & Violent?

21 Feb

Question:

Hi. This is a question for Belleruth. At the suggestion of a friend, I've been listening to the Immune System  guided imagery available to Kaiser Permanente members.  I love your voice and music, but I've been changing the imagery so that it's not warlike/violent.

For example, I imagine the fighter cells putting a golden light vortex around infected cells, bad bacteria, viruses, etc. and then sending the light into the earth.

I told my friend how I've changed the imagery and she wondered if that imagery would work since the immune system actually is warlike and violent.

What do you think?

Fran

Answer:

Hey, Fran,

Thanks for the kind words and the great question.  And you’re in good company - not the first peace-lover to ask this very thing about those feisty immune cells who never saw a fight they didn’t like.  

Your friend is right – as far as the immune system is concerned, it’s a nonstop artillery fest, complete with guns, swords, smart bombs, projectile rockets, improvised explosive devices, hand-to-hand combat and the occasional sly sidling up and poisoning of bad guys.  It’s evidently what we do at the cellular level – a whole planet of perpetual pugnacity

So if you’re set on using cellular imagery, I think you have to be true to the basic dynamic…. which is warlike and violent.

But if you find all this warrior stuff goes against the grain, you don’t have to limit yourself to cellular imagery.  You can use metaphors instead, and have a wave of blue-green healing wash through your body, sweeping away the unhealthy cells and taking them out with the tide.  

Or you can have a giant vacuum cleaner, hefted by a heroic, Mr. Clean type dude, sucking them right out of you.

You could have a golden light filling your body with strength and power, activating your healthy cells to grow and prosper so much that they gently crowd out the infected cells, who then have to relocate outside your body.  

And it doesn’t have to be just metaphoric imagery.  It’s been shown that feeling loved and protected – or feeling loving - will elevate healthy immune function too.  So you could imagine a circle of friends and loved ones surrounding you, wishing you well, and zapping you with health and healing, and this would give your immune cells a nice lift.  

Or you could remember a time when you felt particularly prized and beloved – by a partner, a parent, a friend, a teacher, a grandmother - or a time when you felt a lot of love for someone else - and just re-imagining it in all its multisensory detail will juice your immune system.  

So you don’t have to limit yourself to the cellular stuff.  You can find loving and sweet ways to accomplish the same ends.   But if you do choose to go the cellular route, I think you have to be true to its warlike nature and not try to sugar coat it. No doubt the bodymind knows baloney when it sees it.

So you may want to try the General Wellness or the Relaxation & Wellness imagery instead of that immune system one – they lean in that other direction, and can get the job done too.

I hope that answers the question.  

Good luck and best wishes to you.
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award