Guided imagery

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What is it?

Guided imagery is a practice that uses directed thoughts and visualizations to improve relaxation, improve problem solving, and enhance healing.

Guided imagery intends to help people feel in control of their situation, resulting in improved emotions and attitudes. For example, cancer patients might envision the body’s defense systems fighting and destroying cancer cells.

People use guided imagery for reducing stress and pain after surgery. It is also used for anxiety, osteoarthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don’t confuse guided imagery with relaxation therapy. These are sometimes used together but are not the same.

It is effective?
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Possibly Effective for …

  • Pain after surgery. Guided imagery might somewhat reduce pain after surgery. But it’s not clear which types of guided imagery work best.
  • Stress. Guided imagery, alone or together with relaxation training, seems to help reduce stress in people undergoing stressful situations, such as cancer treatment or hospitalization.

There is interest in using guided imagery for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is there concern for the safety of its use?
Guided imagery is likely safe. There are no known safety concerns.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if guided imagery is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. But there’s no known reason to expect safety concerns.

Are there any drug interactions?
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there any interactions with herbs and supplements?
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there any interactions with food?
There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?
Guided imagery is the use of guided or directed thoughts and visualizations to deepen relaxation and to visualize solutions to problems or disease fighting processes. It’s often used with other techniques such as relaxation therapy to help reduce stress in stressful situations. The visualization process can be guided by an instructor or by pre-recorded tapes. Talk to your physician or other healthcare professional to learn more about how guided imagery is used for specific conditions.

By what other names is the product known?
Guided Health Imagery, Guided Visualization, Imagerie Guidée, Imagery, Imaginación Guiada, Visualisation, Visualisation Guidée, Visualization, Visualization Therapy, VT.

Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.

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