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What Makes Your Meditations Any Better than What’s Free on YouTube?

14 Mar

We got this excellent question from a fellow from Canada.  We’re really glad he asked, because it gives us a chance to spell out what we see as the main differences in quality and kind - and they’re pretty substantial.

Of course, our biggest concern about the freebies is that they might be a person’s first intro to guided imagery, and it could turn them off on the stuff that works. Read on, please.


How are these sessions better than the ones that can be had on YouTube at no cost?


Dear Carl,

Great question. Some of what you find free on YouTube is decent and serviceable, and, as you say, it’s free. But there's quite a range in the quality of the offerings, and much of it is pretty mediocre, ineffective, artless, derivative and ineffective – or, worse - cheesy, phony or creepy.  

I've yet to find something free on YouTube that's outstanding. So the main problem is, it’s anybody’s guess what you’ll find there. It’s the opposite of a curated list – it’s a random list of the good, the bad and the ugly. 

If people don't know what the good stuff sounds like, they could wind up listening to something - and thinking, "Well, I tried guided imagery, and I don't like it." That would be a shame. Because when it’s done right, it can really make a difference.

We've even come upon imagery on YouTube that's been illegally swiped from us, and (if that weren't annoying enough), re-narrated (i.e., plagiarized) in a creepy, seductive voice, mixed with klunky, new age organ music, and slopped up with distracting videos. That kind of perversion from the original, thoughtful production, really gives guided imagery a bad name, and serious practitioners like me a headache.

Here’s what I recommend: please try some of the audio samples on our catalog pages and those of others, and review/compare for yourself. Listen to the voice, the music, the quality of the writing, the evocative nature of the imagery, and your own internal comfort level, and then compare this with your free YouTube samples.  

If you go to our "What is Guided Imagery" page and click on the video, you'll get a decent sample of what our work sounds and feels like. And there are specific sound samples on almost all of our product pages in our online catalog.

Our Health Journeys audios are time- and research-tested; they're written with psychological sophistication and physical accuracy; they have layers and nuance; are highly immersive, hypnotic and effective; have been scored by an award-winning composer- Steve Kohn - and mixed and produced by the same sound engineer - Bruce Gigax - who records the Cleveland Orchestra. They're distributed and recommended by hospitals like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins; HMO's like Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California; thousands of health and mental health providers; and, perhaps most importantly of all, by word of mouth - since 1991.  

They've been found in randomized, controlled, clinical trials to reduce symptoms and adverse effects from medical procedures, and to help with pain, stress, sleep, posttraumatic stress, smoking cessation, weight loss, and much more. 

So please don’t let yourself get ambushed by a self-appointed, mind-body guru on YouTube until you’ve sampled the full range of what’s available.

There! I rest my case. And again, thanks for asking the question - it gives me a chance for a little rant.  

All best,

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Belleruth Naparstek 

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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