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Guided Imagery

By Steven Novella, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine

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Patient Education

Guided imagery, a type of mind-body medicine, involves using mental images, self-directed or guided by a practitioner, to help patients relax (eg, before a procedure) and to promote wellness and healing (to try to effect physical changes—eg, by mobilizing the immune system). The images can involve any of the senses.

Uses for Guided Imagery

Imagery used with relaxation techniques (muscle relaxation and deep breathing) may help reduce pain and improve quality of life in patients with cancer. Imagery has also been used in patients with psychologic trauma.