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Helping children relax during magnetic resonance imaging.

15 Aug
In the Sept/Oct, 1997 issue of The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing [Vol. 22(5), pp 237-241], Gail Smart, a clinical pediatric nurse specialist at Children''s Hospital of Denver, reports on her pilot study on the effects of guided imagery on kids during MRI procedures. She randomly assigned 20 kids, ages 4-8, to either a guided imagery group or a control group.

She wanted to see if an imagery tape could reduce the need for sedation (which can lead to respiratory distress, hyperactivity and other complications). She used a tape called "Magic Island" by Betty Mehling as the intervention, which combines breathing, progressive relaxation and a guided imagery fantasy about a ride in a hot air balloon to a series of magical islands.

Sure enough, 7 out of 10 of the guided imagery kids remained perfectly still and didn''t need sedation, as compared to only 2 kids in the much more frightened control group.

(Note: we have since tracked down this tape and are offering it in our online catalog.)

Citation: Smart G. Helping children relax during magnetic resonance imaging. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 1997 Sep-Oct;22(5):236-41

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