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Guided imagery is a process of relaxed-focused concentration. Guided imagery promotes relaxation. By focusing on memories, dreams or fantasies a person can refocus attention away from a stressful situation to a new image. Guided imagery can help people feel good about the way they go through an experience. It can make uncomfortable symptoms less uncomfortable.
The clinician has the patient choose an important or meaningful image or idea. During this imaginary journey, usually about 10 to 20 minutes, many senses may be involved. The patient may be guided to see, hear, taste, smell, touch or move while thinking about an imagined activity. At the end of the session the clinician will gently help the patient bring attention back to the room and discuss the patient's experience.
Although it is difficult to find definite scientific research, we know that guided imagery works best when all five senses are used. Guided imagery may help a person relax, feel less frightened or anxious. Guided Imagery may cause changes in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. Using imagery has been shown to support disease remission and increase immune response.
It is not usually billed as a separate charge, but as part of another treatment session. Guided imagery can be used during other forms of therapy, such as chemotherapy, psychotherapy, or relaxation. Ask your nurse or social worker if they are trained in guided imagery.
Guided imagery is not suggested for patients who are emotionally unstable.
For further information and services offered through the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, please call 617-632-5570.
By making this information available, neither the Patient Family Education Council not Dana-Farber Institute makes any recommendations, promises, or guarantees the effectiveness of this complementary therapy. For any serious condition please contact your doctor before trying any new therapy. If you do decide to try this modality of therapy, please inform your doctor or nurse so all practitioners can work together to help you in the healing process.
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