Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

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30 Mar

Well, after going through nearly 200 responses – from our blog, Facebook and an avalanche of emails – to the question about how people felt about our affirmation line that says, "I know I am held in the hands of God and I am perfectly, utterly safe", we learned that we'd underestimated the number of people – survivors of childhood trauma especially – who felt surprised, distressed, betrayed and sandbagged by that line.

Many trauma survivors reported that they felt hearing that line undid the good that the audio program was doing for them, and sent them back to a very dark place that was all too familiar. Where was God when I was being molested? is pretty much where their thinking went. Some just didn't care for the line but were able to ignore it.

23 Mar

Hello again.

I recently had a conversation with the father of a 16-year-old, high school sophomore. He told me his son Michael has been suffering from the after effects of a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) since a collision with another kid at pre-season football practice last August. It's been a slow, frustrating recovery for Michael, and there are repercussions on the whole family.

What's been hardest on him, the dad says, is the nonstop headaches, fatigue and mental confusion. Michael has trouble remembering things, focusing his attention, making even simple decisions and organizing his daily tasks. He's slower at everything, and of course that affects his confidence. And sometimes he gets so dizzy, he becomes nauseated – that's about as pleasant as being seasick.

16 Mar

I need to check in with you on a hot issue that resurfaces for us now and then. Here it is: On many of our audios, there's a line toward the end of our affirmations segment that says, "I know I am held in the hands of God, and I am perfectly, utterly safe."

In the feedback we get, this is the line most often mentioned as especially comforting, meaningful and reassuring, and we get a lot of grateful thank you's for it – even from people who had terrible things happen to them when they were kids, who never felt safe growing up.

09 Mar

A couple weeks ago, my doc scheduled a routine CT scan to check out my lungs – only because I once was a heavy smoker, way back in the day. The results were fine, but I learned something important I'd like to pass along.

A couple days before I was to show up at the hospital radiology department, my insurance company called to ask if I knew that the scan at the hospital would cost somewhere between $1200-$1600, and I could have the same scan done at a free-standing radiation clinic for $275. What?

Like many people, I don't pay for these things out of my own pocket, so it had never occurred to me to ask about cost. Between my primary insurance coverage and Medicare, this stuff just gets paid.

02 Mar

Hello again.

I just read an article in Spirituality & Health by Traci Pedersen. She reports on recent research out of UC Berkeley showing that immersion in the beauty of nature, art and/or spirituality – in other words, becoming awestruck or bowled over by a sense of wonder - is associated with lower levels of inflammatory cytokines.

Cytokines are proteins that prod the immune system to crank it up a notch, which is generally a good thing, especially for dispatching infections or cancer. But we also know that chronic inflammation from an overproduction of cytokines can wreak cumulative havoc on health and longevity.

So, this study of 200 subjects suggests it wouldn't be a bad idea to deliberately seek out activities that catalyze your feelings of awe.

23 Feb

Forgot the name of that great movie you just saw and want to heartily recommend? Proper-noun challenged in general? Welcome to my world.

But before I launch into the ten brain tips, first set forth by AARP a couple of years ago, I want to call your attention to Chris Northrup's latest book, an intriguing discussion of how to grow older without fear, loathing and dread, but instead, enjoying a greater sense of pleasure, freedom, happiness, energy and self-esteem.

I confess I'm not crazy about my friend's book title, or what it implies (it's called Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality,and Well-Being) and we had a good, honest interchange about it.

16 Feb

2220bGood news, folks! The MP3 downloads are now available for Traci Stein's long awaited title of hypnosis and guided imagery for achieving a healthy weight and a respectful, appreciative attitude toward your body.

As is often the case with Traci's work, there are a variety of long and short meditations for when you're awake and separate tracks for when you're asleep.

We expect the CD hard copies to be in the warehouse on or around the 20th of the month - any day now, in other words. So go ahead and order.

Now, just to state the obvious, this is not your culturally stereotypical weight loss narrative, filled with distorted ideas about what you should look like (i.e., pathologically skinny, like the last knobby-kneed, non-menstruating, 80 pound stick of a model you saw bobbling down the runway, locomoting on fumes). Nor does this imagery tell you that in order to feel good about yourself you have to look good.

09 Feb

Well, here we are, folks. It's February, which brings us to American Heart Month.

It's probably old news that Cardiovascular Disease or CVD (that's the umbrella category for heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure) - is the leading killer of men and women in the U.S., (as in about a quarter of them).

But a lot of it is preventable and controllable. We've actually made great strides in decreasing CVD in people over 65, but for people younger than that? Not so much. We can do better.

So I want to call your attention to two popular, effective heart kits we carry. One focuses on healing your physical heart and the other on your emotional heart. Both aspects need attention and tender loving care, regardless of how robust and healthy we think we are.

26 Jan

Hello again.

2220b2As I was digging into my weekly cache of the 214 new mind-body research abstracts that had dropped into my NIH cubby, I saw two, new European studies on eating disorders that grabbed my attention, especially because I've been spending a good part of the last two weeks on editing, mixing, reviewing and packaging Traci Stein's new guided imagery and hypnosis audio for Healthy Weight & Body Image.

Now, just to be clear, Traci's new audio is not just for people with eating disorders, although it certainly is going to be wonderful for that – it's also designed for anyone who wants to make mild to moderate tweaks to their weight (up or down) or to their attitudes toward their bodies (up), so there's a lot of range and scale to who this will help.

19 Jan

Okay, folks - World Cancer Day is coming up on February 4th, and Cindy and the team thought it would be very cool to invite people to post their stories on how they used guided imagery and other holistic, mind-body approaches to help deal with their cancer.

...Because there's nothing like a personal story to inspire, teach and model a useful approach to a daunting, scary or difficult situation.

So, did you have a natural cancer treatment approach to accompany more standard therapy? Tell us about what you did for your cancer fatigue! (Yep, that's the biggest complaint, folks – cancer-related fatigue far outweighs pain or nausea as the peskiest side effect of treatment.) 

We've actually seen quite a few holistic cancer treatment stories already, because several of you sent in some great ones (with pictures, even!) for our new landing page (being designed even as we speak). Please consider emailing your personal story to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Some of you used integrative, natural cancer treatments to reduce side effects, such as post-op pain, nausea and cancer related fatigue. Others used guided imagery, hypnosis, yoga, breathwork, affirmations or meditation to keep their spirits up, to reduce anxiety, or to encourage their immune cells to do their natural best.

So, just to get the ball rolling, we're going to post two very different breast cancer stories, both on hold for the new landing page.

One woman had a pretty breezy time of it; another had complications that had to be surmounted. Very different experiences, but both of these awesome cancer survivors used guided imagery and other mind-body methods to very good effect. Check it out!

And help us celebrate World Cancer Day with your story!

Here they are: Beth Spring, a marriage and family counselor from Northern Virginia, and Ester Leutenberg, a publisher from Tucson, each with her own story to tell:

BETH SPRING, LMFT Herndon, VA
BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

beth-smGuided imagery and meditation were among my closest allies and friends through 16 months of breast cancer treatment and side effects in 2009-2010. As a marriage and family therapist, I was well acquainted with mindfulness meditation, and incorporated it into my life and my work.

In February 2009, I attended a week-long training in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Full of good energy and excitement, I returned home and scheduled a class for clients.

Then, just about when the class was scheduled to start in April, I had a one of those mammograms where a long, cold wait in a little paper gown leads to all kinds of fears and worries taking root. I was sent immediately to an ultrasound tech, then biopsied, and before I knew it, meeting with my surgeon. My head was spinning, and the first thing I asked my surgeon was, "Can I still hold my class for clients?" Wordlessly, he gazed at me and shook his head, "no." Read More

ESTER LEUTENBERG, Tucson AZ
RADIATION THERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER

ester-smMy kind of breast cancer was Paget's Disease. Only 4% of breast cancer is that. It took my going to three doctors 'til the third one recognized that it was a problem and not just a sore nipple. Dr. Malgieri of Hillcrest Clinic knew what it was. This was February of 2003, when I was still living in Cleveland.

After months of being upset because no one believed me, I was at a fairly anxious state.

The surgery went easily. They removed the nipple and whole area around it, then checked the lymph nodes and all was well there.

Radiation was indicated. I always needed my husband Jay with me for a scary procedure. I was fearful and anxious of being alone in the room. He wasn't allowed in the room with me. So I had a brilliant idea – I knew about

Belleruth's Radiation tape!

I emailed or called Belleruth, don't remember which. She asked if I wanted the tape or if I wanted her to come with me (for which I will always be grateful). I told her the tape was fine. Read More

So there they are – two very different experiences. Would you share yours?
All best,