What is it?
Guided imagery is a practice that uses directed thoughts and visualizations to improve relaxation, improve problem solving, and enhance healing.
Guided imagery intends to help people feel in control of their situation, resulting in improved emotions and attitudes. For example, cancer patients might envision the body’s defense systems fighting and destroying cancer cells.
People use guided imagery for reducing stress and pain after surgery. It is also used for anxiety, osteoarthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Don’t confuse guided imagery with relaxation therapy. These are sometimes used together but are not the same.
Possibly Effective for …
- Pain after surgery. Guided imagery might somewhat reduce pain after surgery. But it’s not clear which types of guided imagery work best.
- Stress. Guided imagery, alone or together with relaxation training, seems to help reduce stress in people undergoing stressful situations, such as cancer treatment or hospitalization.
There is interest in using guided imagery for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if guided imagery is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. But there’s no known reason to expect safety concerns.
Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.
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