Guided Imagery to Manage Pain


What is guided imagery?

Guided imagery, also known as visualization, is a mind-body relaxation method. It is used to achieve a focused and relaxed state. Based on the principle that the mind and body are inherently connected, guided imagery utilizes all of a person’s senses to redirect the individual’s thoughts away from pain, stress, anxiety and/or depression.

Why use it?

Guided imagery is primarily used to promote relaxation which has been shown to reduce pain levels and improve the way the body responds to stress. It is not only used to help manage pain, it can also help people lose weight, quit smoking or even prepare for public speaking engagements and/or athletic competitions.

How is it done?

Here is an example of guided imagery: Imagine an orange in great detail. Smell the scent, feel the texture and see the color of the peel. Envision peeling the orange, separating the wedges and taking a bite. Most people will begin to salivate upon taking the imaginary bite of the orange. This is an example of how the body responds to guided imagery. Likewise, a person can achieve a relaxed state of being when they imagine all the details of a comfortable, safe place in their memory.

How safe is it?

Guided imagery has no known risks and is perfectly safe to practice. Guided imagery sessions for chronic pain relief achieve the best results when led by a professional who has a background or training in guided imagery techniques. After a few sessions, people should be able to perform guided imagery effectively at home without instructions.