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.
Well, I hope everyone had the Thanksgiving they wanted. It's a favorite holiday for many, myself included.
As Elizabeth reminded us last week, one of the great things about this holiday is the reminder to cultivate our feelings of gratitude. The benefits are pretty amazing, including a reduction of even big league depression, as demonstrated by a study of dispirited people who started keeping a gratitude log– gonzo improvement, after only a couple of weeks!
There are some great gratitude journals to be had, too, by the way. One that always gets high marks is Catherine Price's Gratitude: A Journal. But there are scores of them out there now, testifying to the growth and popularity of this practice.
Belleruth got this question from an oncologist after a guided imagery presentation to the Integrative Medicine Fellows at the University of Arizona in Tucson. It was about general psychological advice for cancer patients undergoing treatment.
I just attended your talk - I was very moved and impressed. I am a medical oncologist. Do you have advice for my patients actively undergoing chemotherapy ?
Thank you very much for your insight and input.
This brilliant piece of choreography and staging, was created and executed by a friend's daughter, the award winning dancer Amie Dowling, Chair of Performing Arts at USF and Artist in Residence at San Quentin, who created this piece with ex-prisoners, and staged and shot it inside an empty, rusty, peeling Alcatraz.
People ask, how did she get these tough guys to do this? How hard was it to train and direct them? Evidently not hard at all. What a dramatic video statement about the wasted talent, discipline and drive inside prison walls, eh?
This Chinese study explores the impacts and efficacy of acupuncture and motor imagery on fine movement of an upper extremity for stroke patients in the flaccid paralysis stage of recovery.
Sixty-two cases of flaccid, upper extremity paralysis were randomized into an observation group (30 cases) and a control group (32 cases).
The control group was treated with conventional western medication plus passive movement of the extremity. Additionally, penetrating acupuncture was applied. The needles were retained for 30 min.
I want to call your attention to this week's question from an oncologist asking for psychologically-oriented advice on what to tell patients undergoing treatment for cancer.
He was more interested in tips for the emotional and social challenges than general integrative medicine advice, because he's a Fellow at the Center of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and already has plenty of training in that particular wheelhouse. Check it out, if you have the time and interest.
Guided imagery, meditation and related mind-body therapies have been found to reduce anxiety, stress1 and depression2, lower blood pressure3, reduce cholesterol4 and lipid peroxides5, speed up healing from cuts6 , fractures7 and burns8, reduce blood loss9 and length of hospital stay in surgery patients10, enhance short term immune function11, reduce pain from arthritis12, headache13, cancer14, fibromyalgia15, sickle cell disease16, post-spinal fusion surgery17, post-total knee replacement surgery18, increase comfort during all manner of medical procedures19, lower HemoglobinA1c in diabetics20, improve motor deficits in stroke patients21, Parkinson's patients22 and children with cerebal palsy23, improve gait in stroke patients24, maintain range of motion despite immobilization25, ease the symptoms of menopause26, improve sleep27, reduce fear in young children undergoing MRIs28 and needle sticks29, support healthy pregnancy30, reduce the symptoms of posttraumatic stress31, cut down bingeing and purging in people with bulimia32, improve success rates in infertile couples33, accelerate weight loss34, remediate alopecia35, enhance academic performance36, improve sports performance37, augment sports training38, improve concentration in developmentally disabled adults39, supplement medical training through imaginal rehearsal40, improve quality of life in end of life care41, to name some of the benefits within its reach.
1 Watanabe E, Fukuda S, Hara H, Maeda Y, Ohira H, Shirakawa T. Differences in relaxation by means of guided imagery in a healthy community sample. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2006 Mar-Apr; 12 (2): pages 60-6.
2 McKinney CH, Antoni MH, Kumar M, Tims FC, McCabe PM. Effects of guided imagery and music (GIM) therapy on mood and cortisol in healthy adults. Health Psychology 1997 Jul;16(4): pp. 390-400.
3 J. M. Hermann. Essential hypertension and stress. When do yoga, psychotherapy and autogenic training help? MMW Fortschr Med 2002 May 9;144(19): pp. 38-41.
4 Bennett P, Carroll D. Stress management approaches to the prevention of coronary heart disease. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 1990 Feb;29 ( Pt 1): pp. 1-12.
5 Schneider RH, Nidich SI, Salerno JW, Sharma HM, Robinson CE, Nidich RJ, Alexander CN. Lower lipid peroxide levels in practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1998. Jan-Feb; 60 (1): 38-41.
6 Ginandes C, Brooks P, Sando W, Jones C, Aker J. Can medical hypnosis accelerate post-surgical wound healing? Results of a clinical trial. Am J Clin Hypn 2003 Apr;45(4): pp. 333-51.
7 Ginandes CS, Rosenthal DI. Using hypnosis to accelerate the healing of bone fractures: a randomized controlled pilot study. Alternative and Complementary Therapies in Health and Medicine. 1999 Mar;5(2): pp. 67-75.
8 Fratianne RB, Prensner JD, Huston MJ, Super DM, Yowler CJ, Standley JM. The effect of music-based imagery and musical alternate engagement on the burn debridement process. J Burn Care Rehabil 2001 Jan-Feb;22(1): pp.47-53.
9 Dreher H, Mind-body interventions for surgery: evidence and exigency. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 1998 (14): pp. 207-222.
10 Halpin LS, Speir AM, CapoBianco P, Barnett SD. Guided imagery in cardiac surgery. Outcomes Management 2002 Jul-Sep;6(3): pp.132-7.
11 Gruzelier JH. A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress 2002 Jun;5(2): pp. 147-63; Lengacher CA,
11 Bennett MP, Gonzalez L, Gilvary D, Cox CE, Cantor A, Jacobsen PB, Yang C, Djeu J. Immune responses to guided imagery during breast cancer treatment. Biological Research for Nursing. 2008 Jan; 9 (3): pages 205-14;
11 Hudacek KD. A review of the effects of hypnosis on the immune system in breast cancer patients: a brief communication. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2007 Oct;55 (4): pages 411-25;
11 Trakhtenberg EC. The effects of guided imagery on the immune system: a critical review. International Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Jun; 118 (6): pages 839-55.
12 Sharpe L, Sensky T, Timberlake N, Ryan B, Brewin CR, Allard S. A blind, randomized, controlled trial of cognitive-behavioural intervention for patients with recent onset rheumatoid arthritis: preventing psychological and physical morbidity. Pain 2001 Jan;89(2-3):275-83;
12 Baird CL, Sands LP. Effect of guided imagery with relaxation on health-related quality of life in older women with osteoarthritis. Research in Nursing and Health. 2006 Oct; 29 (5): pages 442-51.
13 Kohen DP, Zajac R. Self-hypnosis training for headaches in children and adolescents. Journal of Pediatrics. 2007 Jun;150 (6): pages 635-9;
13 Zsombok T, Juhasz G, Gonda X, Vitrai J, Bagdy G. Effect of autogenic training with cognitive and symbol therapy on the treatment of patients with primary headache. Psychiatr Hung. 2005; 20 (1): pages 25-34.
14 Burhenn P1, Olausson J2, Villegas G3, Kravits K2. Guided imagery for pain control. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2014 Oct;18 (5):501-3.
15 Whiting P, Bagnall AM, Sowden AJ, Cornell JE, Mulrow CD, Ramirez G. Interventions for the treatment and management of chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review. JAMA. 2001 September 19; 286(11): pp. 1378-9;
15 Menzies V, Kim S. Relaxation and guided imagery in Hispanic persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia: a pilot study. Family and Community Health. 2008 Jul-Sep; 31 (3): pages 204-12.
15 Bernardy K1, Füber N, Klose P, Häuser W. Efficacy of hypnosis/guided imagery in fibromyalgia syndrome--a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2011 Jun 15;12:133.
16 Dobson CE1, Byrne MW. Original research: using guided imagery to manage pain in young children with sickle cell disease. American Journal of Nursing. 2014 Apr; 114 (4): pp. 26-36.
17 Charette S1, Fiola JL2, Charest MC1, Villeneuve E3, Théroux J4, Joncas J5, Parent S6, Le May S7. Guided Imagery for Adolescent Post-spinal Fusion Pain Management: A Pilot Study. Pain Management Nursing. 2014 Nov 6. pii: S1524-9042 (14) 00105-2.
18 Lim YC1, Yobas P1, Chen HC2. Efficacy of relaxation intervention on pain, self-efficacy, and stress-related variables in patients following total knee replacement surgery. Pain Manag Nurs. 2014 Dec;15(4):888-96.
19 Montgomery GH, Weltz CR, Seltz M, Bovbjer DH. Brief presurgery hypnosis reduces distress and pain in excisional breast biopsy patients. International Journal of Clinicial and Experimental Hypnosis. 2002 Jan;50(1): pp.17-32;
19 Hattan J, King L, Griffiths P. The impact of foot massage and guided relaxation following cardiac surgery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2002 Jan; 37 (2): pages 199-207.
19 Untas A1, Chauveau P, Dupré-Goudable C, Kolko A, Lakdja F, Cazenave N. The effects of hypnosis on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleepiness in people undergoing hemodialysis: a clinical report. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2013; 61 (4):pp. 475-83.
20 Richard S. Surwit, Miranda A.L. van Tilburg, Nancy Zucker, Cynthia C. McCaskill, Priti Parekh, Mark N. Feinglos, Christopher L. Edwards, Paula Williams and James D. Lane. Stress Management Improves Long-Term Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2002 25: pp. 30-34.
21 Page SJ, Levine P, Sisto S, Johnston MV. A randomized efficacy and feasibility study of imagery in acute stroke. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2001: Jun;15(3):233-40;
21 Liu KP, Chan CC, Wong RS, Kwan IW, Yau CS, Li LS, Lee TM. A randomized controlled trial of mental imagery augment generalization of learning in acute poststroke patients. Stroke. 2009 Jun;40(6):2222-5. Epub 2009 Apr 23;
21 Dunsky A, Dickstein R, Marcovitz E, Levy S, Deutsch J. Home-based motor imagery training for gait rehabilitation of people with chronic poststroke hemiparesis. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2008 Aug; 89 (8): pages 1580-8.
21 Kho AY1, Liu KP, Chung RC. Meta-analysis on the effect of mental imagery on motor recovery of the hemiplegic upper extremity function. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2014 Apr; 61 (2): pp. 38-48.
22 Mirelman A1, Maidan I, Deutsch JE. Virtual reality and motor imagery: promising tools for assessment and therapy in Parkinson's disease. Moving Disorders. 2013 Sep 15; 28 (11):pp.1597-608.
23 Chinier E1, N'Guyen S2, Lignon G3, Ter Minassian A4, Richard I5, Dinomais M1. Effect of motor imagery in children with unilateral cerebral palsy: fMRI study. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 9;9(4):e93378. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093378. eCollection 2014.
24 Dickstein R1, Deutsch JE, Yoeli Y, Kafri M, Falash F, Dunsky A, Eshet A, Alexander N. Effects of integrated motor imagery practice on gait of individuals with chronic stroke: a half-crossover randomized study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitatio. 2013 Nov; 94 (11):pp. 2119-25
25 Frenkel MO1, Herzig DS, Gebhard F, Mayer J, Becker C, Einsiedel T. Mental practice maintains range of motion despite forearm immobilization: a pilot study in healthy persons. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2014 Mar; 46 (3):pp 225-32.
26 Elkins G1, Johnson A, Fisher W, Sliwinski J, Keith T. A pilot investigation of guided self-hypnosis in the treatment of hot flashes among postmenopausal women. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 2013; 61 (3):342-50.
27 Loft MH1, Cameron LD. Using mental imagery to deliver self-regulation techniques to improve sleep behaviors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 2013 Dec;46 (3):pp. 260-72;
27 Schaffer L1, Jallo N, Howland L, James K, Glaser D, Arnell K. Guided imagery: an innovative approach to improving maternal sleep quality. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 2013 Apr-Jun; 27 (2):pp.151-9.
28 Smart G. Helping children relax during magnetic resonance imaging. The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 1997: Sept/Oct; 22(5): 237-241.
29 Preliminary doctoral dissertation results presented by Rachel E. Albert, MSN, RN, at the 19th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society in Atlanta, 2000.
30 Satyapriya M, Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R, Padmalatha V. Effect of integrated yoga on stress and heart rate variability in pregnant women. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2009 Mar;104(3):218-22. Epub 2008 Dec 25.
31 STRAUSS JL, Marx CE, Morey RA, Jeffreys, A, Almirall D, O'Loughlin SH, Close JE, Chaudhry N, Oddone, EZ. A Novel Self-Management Intervention for PTSD Related to Military Sexual Trauma; Early RCT Findings. Paper presented at the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, Chicago, IL, November 2008;
31 Mitani S, Fujita M, Sakamoto S, Shirakawa T. Effect of autogenic training on cardiac autonomic nervous activity in high-risk fire service workers for posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2006 May; 60 (5): pages 439-44.
31 Jain S, McMahon G, Pasen P, Kozub M, Porter V, King R, Guarneri E. Healing Touch with Guided Imagery for PTSD in Returning Active Duty Military: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Military Medicine, 177, 9:1015, 2012.
32 Esplen MJ, Garfinkel PE, Olmsted M, Gallop RM, Kennedy S. A randomized controlled trial of guided imagery in bulimia nervosa. Psychology and Medicine 1998 Nov;28(6): pp. 1347-57.
33 Domar AD, Clapp D, Slawsby EA, Dusek J, Kessel B, Freizinger M. Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women. Fertility and Sterility 2000 Apr;73(4):805-11.
34 Johnson DL, Karkut RT. Participation in multicomponent hypnosis treatment programs for women's weight loss with and without overt aversion. Psychol Rep 1996 Oct;79(2):659-68.
35 Willemsen R, Vanderlinden J, Deconinck A, Roseeuw D. Hypnotherapeutic management of alopecia areata. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 Aug;55(2):233-7. Epub 2006 Mar 20.
36 Keogh E, Bond FW, Flaxman PE. Improving academic performance and mental health through a stress management intervention: outcomes and mediators of change. Behavioral Research and Therapy. 2006 Mar; 44 (3): pages 339-57.
37 Vergeer I, Roberts J. Movement and stretching imagery during flexibility training. Journal of Sports Science. 2006 Feb; 24 (2): pages 197-208.
38 Silbernagel MS1, Short SE, Ross-Stewart LC. Athletes' use of exercise imagery during weight training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007 Nov;21 (4): pp.1077-81.
39 Porretta DL, Surburg PR. Imagery and physical practice in the acquisition of gross motor timing of coincidence by adolescents with mild mental retardation. Journal of Perception and Motor Skills 1995 Jun;80(3 Pt 2):.1171-83.
40 Suk M, Oh W, Kil S. Guided imagery types on stress and performance of an intramuscular injection of nursing students Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006 Oct; 36 (6): pages 976-82;
40 Sanders CW, Sadoski M, Bramson R, Wiprud R, Van Walsum K. Comparing the effects of physical practice and mental imagery rehearsal on learning basic surgical skills by medical students. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2004 Nov; 191 (5): pages 1811-4.
41 Lafferty WE, Downey L, McCarty RL, Standish LJ, Patrick DL. Evaluating CAM treatment at the end of life: a review of clinical trials for massage and meditation. Complement Ther Med. 2006 Jun;14 (2): pages 100-12. Epub 2006 Mar 2918
Okay, Belleruth here, to say we heard ya. We're back to sending out the practitioner enews that targets your professional interests, questions and concerns.
This is the first of many.
We're talking about stuff like practice info, tips, FAQ's, program successes, best practices and special offers for our thousands of HJ clinicians, professional practitioners, caregivers and all-round, beloved besties in the practice arena.
Sweartogawd, it's not that we've been twiddling our thumbs. We've been revamping our website and updating our digital strategies, and because of it, dramatically improving our standing with the search engines and all those pesky media moguls who call the shots on who notices what on the internet.
And we're still at it – this stuff is like housework, paying the bills and car maintenance - it's never done.
However, we're at a point where we can get back to serving our critical, core constituency, which is you, with the resources, tools and information you deserve to have.
So stay tuned. This is the first of many such missives. And we'll be announcing a new series of practitioner-oriented podcasts, YouTube's and video hangouts, designed around your most asked about topics. (Yes, believe it or not, we've kept a list.)
Here’s Your Very Own Clinical Research Cheat Sheet
Many of you get asked to cite research that demonstrates the efficacy of guided imagery and other mind-body methods. So, we’re providing you with our most recent research handout, showing a broad range of what guided imagery, meditation and hypnosis can do for people. It’s by no means complete, but it’s representative and it’s current.
Feel free to print it and use it.
This list will also come in handy to those of you looking to persuade your hospital, clinic, health spa or group practice to adopt guided meditation and imagery audio tools as a standard offering for patients.
It’s a form of deliberate, directed daydreaming that uses relaxing words, pacing and music in targeted ways to support desired changes in mind, body, psyche and spirit.
It’s evidence-based and works really well for emotional wellness, medical procedures, achieving healthy habits and for specific health conditions and concerns.
It supports and potentiates other treatment methods, and sometimes, for some people, it’s sufficient as a stand-alone intervention.
Guided imagery is a specific sub-category of hypnosis. It’s also a form of meditation. In Europe, it’s sometimes called autogenic training. And for practical purposes, it’s virtually the same as guided meditation.
But please don’t call it visualization. Only half the population is strongly wired visually, and they’ll assume they can’t do this if they think they have to “see with their mind’s eye”. On the contrary, guided imagery is multi-sensory, leaning heavily on imagined sound, smell, taste and feel as well as sight.
For most people, imagery is the “lazy man’s (or woman’s) meditation” - a simple, user-friendly method that does most of the work for the listener. For someone who hasn’t put in time learning a disciplined practice like mindfulness meditation, there are still immediate results from imagery.
The Mental Health Collection covers a lot of ground in the emotional resiliency arena, supporting and synergizing the work you do with patients and clients. Keep these on your office shelves to play in a session or to lend out to those who need them. We’ve priced this set at a whopping $40 off retail, as our way of saying thank you for doing what you do
Retail $129.86 / Special price for professionals $89.99
Researchers from National University of Singapore conducted a randomized, four-arm design study with 100 veterans suffering from chronic lower back pain. The goal was to test the efficacy of hypnosis for alleviating lower back pain, as well as learn about the minimum dose required to produce meaningful benefits.
Additionally, the role of home practice was assessed as well as how well improvements were sustained beyond 3 months.
Hundreds of primary school children in Berkshire have had meditation classes introduced to them as part of their school day routines. As Nikki Mitchell reports, the 'mindfulness' teaching aims to help them manage their own behavior and anxieties, and improve their concentration.
p.s. If you liked this post, you might enjoy getting our weekly e-news with other articles just like it. If so, sign up here!
This question raises some important issues about the importance of insight in changing patterns, symptoms and behavior.
Hi BellRuth (sic), I believe my insomnia comes from deep rooted fears, so I believe I would have to have a cd that addresses fears/ or lack of. Which CD do you suggest?1 I do not fear leaving the house.