29. Visualization for Healing
What you see is what you get. —Anonymous
Humans are image making creatures. As mentioned in 6: Watch Your Words—Avoid Illness Programming, even without knowing it, you are constantly making mental pictures. As someone gives you directions, you visualize the route. As you read about a place you have never visited, you envision what it must look like. Even though you may never have seen a gallstone or a tumor, the words suggest an image to your mind.
The interesting thing about images is that, somewhat like words, they create emotional states that affect brain chemistry, and brain chemistry will depress or strengthen every system in your body, including your immune system. It pays to know what types of imagery you are generating and how you can make that imagery work for you. Visualization is a powerful tool for personal wellness.
In biofeedback training, for example, people learn to lower their blood pressure by imagining vapors rising from a sun warmed lake. You can also learn to significantly raise the temperature of your hand by creating a mental picture of your hand being warmed by the sun or being immersed in warm water. Raising your hand temperature has certain health benefits. For instance, it is correlated with a decrease in headache pain.
Holistic cancer support services throughout the world suggest using visualizations along with either conventional or alternative therapies to induce remissions. Patients are routinely taught to combine periodic relaxation with visualizations of healthy, energetic cells fighting and destroying the weaker and disorganized cancer cells.
Visualization skills are taught to business executives to help them expand their creative thinking and to create mental pictures of the goals they want to accomplish. Athletes use visualization in conjunction with physical practice to refine their performance and to build self-confidence. In childbirth, visualization helps a woman remain relaxed and focused during labor. Patients anticipating surgery use visualization to calm their fears and give them a sense of control over their internal states. Visualization is growing in popularity because it works.
Self-Image and Health: Visualization Exercise
Self Image and Healing: Visualization Exercise
Achieving Your Goals: Visualization Exercise