Guided Imagery and Meditation Blog | Health Journeys

You are here: Home Update Update from Belleruth October 3, 2005

October 3, 2005

03 Oct
We got some interesting comments in reaction to the disappointing findings from the MANTRA study, showing no differences between (1) prayer, (2) a combination of imagery, music & healing touch and (3) standard care..
Hello, everyone.

We’re getting a lot of response to our offer to Katrina survivors (click on the banner at the top right of this page if you’re not sure what I’m referring to). We’re very happy to see all the people who are availing themselves of the information, the free imagery streams and the free access to

Now our generous friend from across the sea, Dr. Jean-Luc Mommaerts, has made his wonderful imagery available to those recovering from the stress of Gulf Coast hurricanes and everything that goes with it. If you email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., he will provide a password and a user name for a one year subscription to the streamed imagery on his site. For a demo of his terrific work, click on .

We got some interesting comments in reaction to the puzzlingly disappointing findings from the Duke MANTRA study, which showed no real differences between (1) prayer, (2) a combination of imagery, music and healing touch and (3) standard care.

One V.A. chaplain colleague writes this:

"The Healing Touch community is still trying to work with the current double-blinded study protocols, but has about decided they just don''t measure what we do. I have decided that is correct. I don''t think six month measurements of mortality, major complications, etc., that were in the MANTRA study are things that would be impacted by a few inpatient treatments of anything imagery, prayer, music or touch therapy would do. Perhaps if the patients had been given weekly treatments, this might be appropriate. I gather that wasn''t done. I really think this is trying to apply a Newtonian measuring system to a quantum concept. I had hoped for positive results from this study, but I really think the methodology is ill-suited to the techniques used."

Another imagery practitioner colleague writes this:

"The Procedures of this study are stunningly naïve, at least as far as I can tell from the article.. Only one session of 40 minutes was spent on MIT, right before the catheterization, of which not more than 20 minutes can have been spent on ‘imagery’. This consisted of an abdominal breathing exercise and choosing a preferred place image. It’s not clear what has been done with the latter. Were the patients just instructed to use this freewheelingly or was it in a fill-in-the-blanks way, incorporated with the abdominal breathing exercise?

"Anyway, who would expect this to have influence upon endpoints such as mortality and major adverse cardiovascular events after 6 and 12 months? Did the authors really see this as a possibility?

"I think the authors only cared about the prayer side... So they did the imagery very naïvely. This is not so good. It’s also not so good of the editors of The Lancet to let this pass as such. At least the procedures should be made as clear as possible and that is important - more so when mental imagery is involved, because it is extremely difficult to operationalize. Unfortunately, these conclusions will be used to disprove the effectiveness of mental imagery.."

So the debate continues. Please add your comments by either posting them on our discussion page or sending them to me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in Portland, Oregon this weekend!

Take care and be well.

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