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The effects of guided imagery on the immune system: a critical review.

06 Jun
A critical review examines the research and concludes that guided imagery affects white blood counts, neutrofils and lymphocytes.

A critical review out of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California, examined the research on guided imagery’s effects on the immune system. The author states that studies suggest that guided imagery can:

  1. reduce stress and elevate the immune system;
  2. that cell-specific imagery affects corresponding white blood counts (WBCs), neutrophils and/or lymphocytes;
  3. that decreases in white blood counts occur in the initial stages of GI and relaxation, due to fluctuations in WBC production or margination;
  4. and that changes in WBC count or adherence occur earlier in medical patients.

The study concludes with thoughts about where further investigations should go, including the definition of the ideal white blood count; the effects of long-term practice of guided imagery; and the influence of cell-specific imagery on WBCs.

Citation: 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.

 

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