Guided Imagery is underutilized and is a powerful tool for health, goal achievement, and performance. Imagery plays an important role in all aspects of your life and it is much more than cognition or a mental picture. It is the world's most ancient source for healing power.
In the body, an inner dialogue communicates back and forth via mind-brain and the central nervous system. These messages are encoded in the form of images or an experience that we conceptualize. Imagery conveys information about flow, space, musicality, force, rhythm, direction, feelings, forms, and transitions. Everything we do, think and imagine has a corresponding image, even when we do not perceive it. The senses - sight, hearing, feeling, taste, smell, position and movement, create bodily change - bridging communication between sensations of the body, emotions and perception.
Imagery is often limited to visualizations, yet it is much more. Each image we have corresponds with body sensations and if explored can be useful to assist with changing one's mind. Generally, those subsequent steps are not taken unless we are guided by a professional.
It is well known that mental images (what you envision) influence neuromuscular behavior, alter physiology and strengthen intuitive skills.
In Medicine: Mental Imagery plays a critical role in diagnosis, pain, illness, procedures and recovery. Imagery affects health, intensely, on very deep levels, although not certainly the sole contributor. The inner ecology which consists of hormones, blood, and other chemicals shift at lightning speed with imagery changes. These shifts are occurring all day long.
An example: You might describe a pain sensation that burns like "fire;" you imagine a blister the size of a "golf ball."
Sanna's Opinion: We recognize the power of negative thoughts and imagination on health. Research on stress reveals the effect of a negative mindset on health. Anxiety and stress are counter productive when the goal is to enhance healing. If a traumatic image can increase blood pressure and heart rate, then the reverse must also be true.
We can influence our bodies and health with powerful positive imagery. Mental skill-building, healing images and inner resources affect the potency of the individual in preparation for the process of procedure and recovery.
Physical health can be influenced by thought and mental images. Guided Imagery can assist in preparation for surgery and medical treatments.
Examples: In hypnotherapy, imagery has therapeutic powers to strengthen the awareness of the Inner Healer or cellular intelligence. This power can take the shape of human, spiritual or animal figures.
The mind/body transforms a common experience into pictures, feelings, sounds & movement. This movement aids in creating the quality of the body. You have heard someone describe that while under medication she 'felt like she was "floating," or pain that was "stabbing." The mind creates images that are translated into words. These expressions offer clues into tangible connections for us to understand, rather than complicated medical jargon.
In Performance: The direct application of imagery in sport, art and dance can assist with related stress, anxiety and performance enhancement. With attention to detail and lots of practice, images can be made very realistic and believable. In order to be effective, performance visualizations must include sight, sound, smell, feeling, and positioning. Some performers do it naturally, others require training.
An example is visualizing a performance: Most athletes and artists think through performances. The idea is to create 'believability' and emotionality because you are actually priming the central nervous system and muscles to imprint memory.
Imagery includes all of the senses -- vision, sound, feeling, kinesthetics (movement), even taste and smell. Imagine if all these senses were used to create a deeper awareness and trust in the body's ability to perform. To project outward strength, power, and competence in your performance requires mind/body synchronization. Mind fuels the body.
Guided Imagery is incorporated in all sessions whether it is hypnotherapy, EFT or family constellation work.