Guided Imagery and Visualization
~ By Kirsten Antony, R.N. ~
Whether it be emotional or physical pain that we are looking to ease, the statistics are alarming. One in six Americans take a psychiatric drug which may include anxiety medications and/or antidepressants. Depression happens to also be the leading cause of disability in the world. If that wasn’t shocking enough, we are also in what many have labeled an opioid epidemic. Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Common prescription opioids are OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Many people are prescribed opioids for pain and become addicted. Both types of medication work for some people, but others look for alternatives for their suffering.
I see these statistics and I think that we are in a holistic crisis of sorts as a people. An analogy I think of often when it comes to illness is that of an iceberg. We can try to treat what lies above the surface, but there is still one big problem lying underneath. In both cases of depression and physical pain, the origin of the suffering can many times be traced back to the emotional body. As a holistic practitioner, I see layers of a person – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. From this perspective, the whole person is acknowledged on a multi-dimensional level.
It can take time and introspection to be treated holistically, but I think when we dig a bit deeper we can start to see the bottom of that iceberg. Medication can be lifesaving and when used appropriately can be very helpful in living a productive and joyful life. But there are many alternative treatments that can be effective depending of what results you are trying to achieve. They might just get to the root of the problem. With many complementary or integrative therapies, the practitioner is a conduit for healing. Many people are unaware of how miraculous the body truly is and their own capacity for healing.
One type of therapy that can be helpful in taking charge of your health is known as guided imagery or visualization. Visualization works on both the conscious and unconscious mind. It can be a very empowering tool to use. Many athletes use it to win Olympic events. Not only can visualization help achieve life goals, it can also be used to heal the body and cause physiological changes. The brain cannot tell what is real from imaginary. People have been known to lower blood pressure, manage chronic illnesses and alleviate pain. There are mental health therapists that offer guided imagery as a service. However, visualization is something people can do on their own! All it takes is the power of the mind to create healing images and feelings. Or there are books, CD’s or many resources online to help guide you to healing.
I love this example of visualization. Imagine you have a freshly cut lemon in your hand. See the pale yellow color of the pulp and the brighter yellow of the rind. Smell the fresh, clean lemon scent. Imagine taking a bite of this lemon and sucking on the sour juice. Did you get a physiological reaction as many people do? Just the thought of the lemon juice in your mouth should have made you salivate and/or pucker your lips.
Visualization can be a creative, fun and self-empowering healing technique. Envision wellness.
- Find a relaxed and quiet area to work in.
- Be clear about your intentions and outcome.
- Engage as many senses and details about the situation.
- Visualize a positive and successful outcome.
The content is not intended to substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition.
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist. Kirsten is a holistic health care practitioner and specializes in foot and nail care. She provides care in the Denver area at a variety of facilities as well as making house calls. For more information visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992.