Skip Navigation Links



    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
Antioxidants Quiz
Which of the following is an antioxidant?
uided Imagery
What is Imagery, and How Does it Work?

© Martin L. Rossman MD

What Kinds of Illnesses Can Be Treated With Imagery?
While preliminary studies have demonstrated that imagery can be an effective part of treatment in a wide variety of illnesses, I am reluctant to offer a list of "diseases that can be treated with imagery." Imagery can be helpful in so many ways that it is more accurate to think of it as a way of treating people than a way of treating illnesses.

Imagery can help you whether you have simple tension headaches or a life-threatening disease. Through imagery, you can learn to relax and be more comfortable in any situation, whether you are ill or well. You may be able to reduce, modify, or eliminate pain. You can use imagery to help you see if your lifestyle habits have contributed to your illness and to see what changes you can make to support your recovery. Imagery can help you tap inner strengths and find hope, courage, patience, perseverance, love, and other qualities that can help you cope with, transcend, or recover from almost any illness.

There are, of course, certain symptoms and illnesses that seem to be more readily responsive to imagery than others. Conditions that are caused by or aggravated by stress often respond very well to imagery techniques. These include such common problems as headaches, neck pain, back pain, "nervous stomach," spastic colon, allergies, palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, and anxiety. Other major health problems including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological illnesses are often complicated by or themselves cause stress, anxiety, and depression. The emotional aspects of any illness can often be helped through imagery, and relieving the emotional distress may in turn encourage physical healing.

I must repeat that good medical care for the serious problems mentioned above is essential and perfectly compatible with imagery. If you choose to have therapeutic treatments of any kind, acknowledge them as your allies in healing and include them in your imagery. If you are taking an antibiotic or chemotherapy, imagine the medicines coursing through your tissues, finding and eliminating the bacteria or tumor cells you are fighting. If you have surgery, imagine the operation going smoothly and successfully, and your recovery being rapid and complete. There is good evidence that this type of pre-operative preparation reduces recovery time and complications from surgery.(3)

Now that we've considered what imagery can do and how it might work, let's begin your personal exploration of the imagery process.


1) A very good review of this literature is found in "Imagery, physiology, and psychosomatic illness," Sheikh, A., and Kunzendorf, R. G. (1984). In International Review of Mental Imagery, Vol. 1, ed. Sheikh, A. New York: Human Sciences Press.

2) Rosen, G., Kleinman, A., and Katon, W. (1982), "Somatization in family practice: a biopsychosocial approach." Journal of Family Practice, 14:3, 493-502.

Stoeckle,J. D., Zola, I. K., and Davidson, G. E. (1964), "The quantity and significance of psychological distress in medical patients." Journal of Chronic Disease, 17:959.

3) An excellent review of psychological factors in surgical outcome is found in "Behavioral Anesthesia," by Henry L. Bennett, Ph.D., in Aduances, 2:4, Fall, 1985.

Add your comment   CONTINUED      Previous   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next   
About The Author
Physician, author, speaker, researcher, and consultant, Dr. Rossman founded The Healing Mind in order to raise awareness about the power of high quality mind/body self-care tools in self-healing and in the health professions. A graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School in 1969, he has had a long-standing interest in the......more
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
From Our Sponsor
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     September 16-December 16, 2014
     Teleclass, CA USA
Additional Calendar Links
Wellness, Self Responsibility, Love, dimension!

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.