What is imagery?
The mind is a powerful healing tool. Using our imagination, we can visualize almost anything. Imagery (or visualization) is a therapeutic technique that has been used for centuries. By creating images in the mind, a person can reduce pain and symptoms associated with his or her condition.
Imagery usually involves a program with set objectives and goals. Patients are guided to visualize their goals and work toward them.
Two imagery techniques are widely used today:
- Palming - involves the visualization of color. The patient places his/her palms over the eyes and envisions the color associated with stress (usually the color red). Then, the patient changes the color he/she sees to a more relaxing color, such as blue. It is believed that changing colors in the mind induces relaxation.
- Guided imagery - involves envisioning a certain goal to help cope with health problems. An example is the Simonton method - a method in which a cancer patient imagines Pac Men (from the old Pac Man video game) gobbling up bad cancer cells.
Studies have also shown that imagery can help to improve relaxation.