of guided imagery contend that the imagination is a potent healer
that has long been overlooked by practitioners of Western medicine.
Imagery can relieve pain, speed healing and help the body subdue
hundreds of ailments, including depression, impotence, allergies
and asthma. The power of the mind to influence the body is quite
remarkable. Although it isn't always curative, imagery can be
helpful in 90 percent of the problems that people bring to the
attention of their primary care physicians.
Guided imagery is a way to use our powers of creative imagination,
which can be much more immediate and effective than analytical
thinking. The guided imagery exercises we've included are designed
to offer you direct experience of some of the concepts in the
theme section of Eupsychia's web site that you encounter, converting
them into dynamic activators of your minds and hearts or as stand-alone
inner work exercises.
Like everything newly created, a truth must begin in the mind.
Hence, the purpose of guided imageries is to show your intellect
a living truth, which can then eventually move into our hearts.
A living truth is an idea that has become clothed in form by our
imagination–an idea that can be felt in your heart and will create
change in your life.
The belief that the power of imagination can help people heal
has ancient roots. Traditional folk healers known as shamans used
guided imagery to treat ailments. In Eastern medicine, envisioning
well-being has always been an important part of the therapeutic
process. In Tibetan medicine in particular, creating a mental
image of the healing god would improve the patient's chances for
The ancient Greeks, including Aristotle and Hippocrates ("father
of modern medicine") also had their patients use forms of imagery
to help them heal. It was not until the 1960s, however, that psychologists
exploring the emerging field of biofeedback first began to appreciate
the powers of the mind on the physical body.
Through biofeedback, they could teach patients to slow heart rate,
lower blood pressure, or open lungs stricken with asthma. Then,
in the 1970s, O. Carl Simonton, M.D., chief of Radiation Therapy
at Travis Air Force base in Fairfield, California, and psychotherapist
Stephanie Matthews-Simonson, devised a program--today known as
the Simonton method--that utilized guided imagery to help his
The patients pictured their white blood cells attacking their
cancer cells (sometimes in scenes that resembled the popular video
game "Pac-Man"). Simonton found that the more vivid the images
his patients used (for example, ravenous sharks attacking feeble
little fish), the better the process worked.
Since then, a good deal of research into mind-body connections
has appeared in mainstream medical literature. And while many
conventional physicians remain skeptical that the mind has an
actual physical effect on the reversal of an illness, guided imagery
(often conducted by psychiatrists or psychologists) is now used
in many medical inpatient and outpatient programs throughout the
Furthermore, many holistically oriented psychologists and other
counselors routinely employ guided imagery for stress reduction,
smoking cessation, weight reduction, immune stimulation, and the
relief of both physical and emotional illness.