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What is guided imagery?

Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination to ease stress and enhance well-being.

It uses words and images to help move your attention away from the worry, stress and pain and help you find your own inner strength and creativity to support healing. This brings the natural powers of the mind into health and healing.

How guided imagery works

Guided imagery helps relax your body by reducing muscle tension and increasing positive emotions. This can help:

  • lower stress
  • lower anxiety
  • lower blood pressure
  • you sleep better
  • lower pain
  • strengthen your immune system

Benefits of guided imagery

Imagery has a positive affect on heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and oxygen rates, brain waves, temperature, and hormone balance.

Guided imagery can help relieve symptoms caused or made worse by stress, such as:

Guided imagery in the hospital

While you are in the hospital, guided imagery can help you:

  • become calm and focused before, during and after a procedure or surgery
  • have a temporary, mental escape at a stressful or difficult time
  • lower pain and anxiety

If you are interested in guided imagery during your hospital stay, ask your nurse.

Guided imagery at home

After your hospital stay, you can buy relaxation or guided imagery CDs or downloads to use at home.

You can also create your own imagery by writing down a relaxing scene. Include images of yourself becoming healthier, stronger and more successful. Put on quiet music. Close your eyes. Relax and imagine your relaxing scene.

For more information, talk with your nurse or doctor.

Where can I receive guided imagery?

The Penny George Institute for Health and Healing offers guided imagery services at these locations:

Content Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Guided Imagery, gen-ahc-14881
Review Date: 6/21/2011
Reviewed By: Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HNB-BC

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.