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Researchers from the Department of Surgery at Columbia University in New York examined whether guided imagery could reduce depression and therefore post-op cardiac events and even deaths (associated with depression) in patients who’d undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Traci Stein and her team hypothesized that this low cost and easy-to-implement technique could reduce post-op distress in CABG patients.  Fifty-six patients were randomized into 3 groups: guided imagery, music therapy, and standard care control.
Patients in the imagery and music groups listened to Health Journeys audiotapes preoperatively and intraoperatively.  All patients completed psychological, complementary medicine therapies use, and other assessments preoperatively and at 1 week and 6 months postoperatively.

After being taken by surprise by a pretty typical, distressing, lurching, crazy emotional roller coaster ride following his heart transplant surgery, a man wonders if there is something he can do to alleviate or cushion his symptoms.  Here’s his comment and question:

I am wondering what you might suggest for patients undergoing heart transplants. I spent seven months in a hospital and can tell you the emotions and abandonment are unreal and I want to be able to suggest something other patients can do without help from others which will provide the benefit of mental imagery and not require the assistance of others. A cd player can be put on by a patient, everything else is a gift as there is always someone higher priority and everyone is busy with their own lives. Perhaps you can suggest something for me as well to manage what to do with all the emotional turmoil after surviving all the physical.



Do you have a CD, cassette or download that would help my 85 year old father-in-law, who's got a tracheotomy following a heart attack & weeks of sedation?

He's not depressed, per se, but he is frustrated with the trach & is interested in guided imagery/self-hypnosis.  He's a retired psychologist & musician - a great guy.
A mental vacation with imagery of strengthening and regaining his health - hopefully without reference to breathing through his nose or mouth - would be great.
Thanks,  Theresa


Which of your guided imagery CDs or tapes should I order to get my blood pressure down? I am on medication. Thanks.


Dear Ben,

First off, let me say that anything that helps you to relax is very likely going to get your blood pressure down. So in a general, non-targeted way, any of the guided relaxation and meditation programs we offer are qualified to do this. Similarly, anything that says it’s designed to reduce stress is going to help lower your blood pressure.


Hi Belleruth,
I checked your CD listing, and I didn't see a specific one for hypertension, and I'd rather have something of yours as a resource, so would you recommend your CD on Stress or is there another one that would be appropriate?


Researchers from the Pain Division of the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University in New York, concerned about the connection between depression/anxiety and the postoperative risk of a patient having a cardiac event after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), explored whether guided imagery might reduce postoperative distress in these patients.

Fifty-six patients scheduled to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting at Columbia University Medical Center were randomized into 3 groups: guided imagery, music therapy, and standard care control.  Patients in the imagery and music groups listened to audiotapes preoperatively and intraoperatively. All patients completed psychological assessments, disclosure of their use of CAM therapies, and other assessments before surgery and after one week and 6 months postoperatively.

Researchers in nursing from the University of Toronto investigated whether relaxation through guided imagery could reduce blood pressure in hypertensive pregnant women, as it does in non-pregnant women, with this feasibility study.

A total of 69 pregnant women with hypertension were randomized to either a guided imagery intervention or quiet rest, twice daily for 4 weeks or until delivery, whichever came first.  Daytime ambulatory mean arterial pressure, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and anxiety were measured weekly (for up to four weeks).

Researchers from the Integrative Medicine Program at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons gathered preliminary information regarding the feasibility of implementing a brief meditation-based stress management (MBSM) program for patients with CHD, and those at high risk for CHD, at a major metropolitan hospital that serves a predominately non-local patient population. The secondary aim of the study was to see if such an intervention could reduce depression, as well as perceived stress, anxiety, and hostility, while improving general health scores.

Investigators from the Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health & Leisure in Porto, Portugal conducted a study to analyze the association between blood pressure and (1) body mass index (BMI), (2) degree of physical activity and (3) cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) in young people.

The study included 66 boys and 97 girls (average age around 14). Measures were taken of blood pressure and cardio-respiratory fitness during the school day, and accelerometers were used to determine degree of physical activity, both during and away from school.

Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi examined the short-term impact of a brief yoga intervention on some of the biochemical risk indicators for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.

Ninety-eight subjects (67 male, 31 female), ages 20-74, with hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, and a variety of other illnesses, participated in a lifestyle training program that consisted of yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), relaxation techniques, group support, individualized advice, lectures and films on the philosophy of yoga and the place of yoga in daily life, meditation, stress management, nutrition, and knowledge about their disease.

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