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Guided Imagery

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Last full review/revision Oct 2021
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Guided imagery, a type of mind-body medicine Mind-Body Medicine Five categories of complementary or alternative medicine are generally recognized: Whole medical systems Mind-body medicine Biologically based practices not usually used in conventional medicine... read more , involves using mental images, self-directed or guided, 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) plus hypnotherapy may help reduce pain, especially in patients with fibromyalgia (1 References Guided imagery, a type of mind-body medicine, involves using mental images, self-directed or guided, to help patients relax (eg, before a procedure) and to promote wellness and healing (to try... read more ), and improve quality of life and treatment tolerance in patients with cancer. Imagery has also been used in patients with psychologic trauma, including intensive care unit (ICU) admission (2 References Guided imagery, a type of mind-body medicine, involves using mental images, self-directed or guided, to help patients relax (eg, before a procedure) and to promote wellness and healing (to try... read more ) and in those with anxiety, stress disorders, and sleep disorders.

References

  • 1. Zech N, Hansen E, Bernardy K, et al: Efficacy, acceptability and safety of guided imagery/hypnosis in fibromyalgia - a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Pain 21(2):217-227, 2017. doi: 10.1002/ejp.933

  • 2. Hadjibalassi M, Lambrinou E, Papastavrou E, et al: The effect of guided imagery on physiological and psychological outcomes of adult ICU patients: A systematic literature review and methodological implications. Aust Crit Care 31(2):73-86, 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2017.03.001

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