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Impact of Guided Imagery and Other Mind-Body Methods on Diabetes

15 Jul

Hello again.

I’m very much looking forward to giving a talk next month to the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in Philadelphia, on August 9th at the Convention Center.

My keynote’s entitled Guided Imagery & the New Mind-Body Breakthroughs in Diabetes Care.

I’m especially happy and honored to be speaking to this particular group of professionals. I’ve met a lot of them over the years (special shoutout to Jane Seley and Ann Williams!!), and they’re so committed to empowering patients to manage their diabetes and take charge of their health. They’re a passionate bunch - really committed to educating people about critical lifestyle changes – kind of a cross between a nurse, a coach, a whip-cracker, a mom and a science brainiac.  

They make strong relationships with their patients and they make a huge difference.  Diabetes, we all know, is as frustrating and complicated a condition as it is prevalent and potentially destructive.  It can wreck organ functioning and cripple a person if it isn’t managed properly.  The stakes are high.  It takes persistence, ingenuity and expertise to get on top of it, and even more to stay there. 

Any parent or teacher knows that it’s a pretty tricky business to walk that fine line between motivating and scaring; educating and nagging; between being too soft and being too hard on somebody – you can lose them at either extreme.  And as to where that sweet spot is – it’s different for everyone.

This is the small army of professionals who do just that.  They find the place in each person – the internal power cell that supports change and smart self-care – and that’s where they work. They rock.

Over the years I’ve met a lot of CDE’s (Certified Diabetes Educators) – they’re nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, and I’ve always been struck by their passion and commitment to what they do; the way they stay on top of the latest research and practice knowledge; and how they go that extra step to ensure their patients are giving themselves the best care.  

And why talk about guided imagery and other mind-body methods to this crowd? Because there are now scores and scores of studies showing the value of guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, yoga, music therapy, tai chi, relaxation, acupressure and mindfulness-based stress reduction for health outcomes - for blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, lipid profiles, body mass index and a whole bunch of other stuff.

There are so many RCT’s now, in fact, that I could spend the entire hour whipping through slides of studies.  I won’t but I could.  Way too boring to do that to those nice people.  But all I know is, when I spoke to this very same group exactly 20 years ago in 1993, there were no studies – zero – just a good hunch.  Now there are too many to present.  Nice.

So, hopefully I’ll see some of you in Philly! 

Take care and be well.
All best,

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