The connection between the mind and physical health has been well documented and extensively studied. Positive mental imagery can promote relaxation, reduce stress, improve mood, control high blood pressure, alleviate pain, boost the immune system and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Through guided imagery techniques, patients can learn to control functions normally controlled by the autonomic nervous system, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and body temperature.
One of the biggest benefits of using guided imagery as a therapeutic tool is its availability. Imagery can used virtually anywhere, anytime. It is also an equal opportunity therapy. Although some initial training in the technique may be required, guided imagery is accessible to virtually everyone regardless of economic status, education, or geographical location.
Guided imagery also give individuals a sense of empowerment, or control. The technique is induced by a therapist who guides the patient. The resulting mental imagery used is solely a product of the individual's imagination. Some individuals have difficulty imagining. They may not get actual clear images but perhaps vague feelings about the guided journey. However, these individuals' brains and nervous systems responses seem to be the same as those with more detailed imaginings. Clients who feel uncomfortable "opening up" in a traditional therapist client session may feel more at ease with self-directed therapy like guided imagery.
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