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 Rx Imagery: How to Use Your Imagination to Improve Your Health 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Body Health by . View all columns in series

Rx Create Your Inner Advisor
You can use this type of imagery to explore the meaning of your symptoms or illness, and what you can do to improve your health. This imagery is a means of two-way communication between your mind and your body.

Begin with a general imagery exercise such as Creating a Special Place. Once you have entered your special place, invite an inner advisor to come and visit you.

Use all your senses to watch for your advisor, as the advisor may take any shape or form. Or you may have several inner advisors. They may be a person, a voice, an object, or a symbol. If you are not comfortable with what emerges, send him/her/it away, and invite another advisor.

Once you are comfortable with your advisor, ask questions. Feel free to ask anything, such as:
Are you my inner advisor?

How can I relax?

What is causing my tension? Pain? Symptom?

What do I need to do to feel better?

Who can help me?
Then wait for the answers. Be patient. They may come in any form: a picture, image, sound, word, phrase, feeling. They can come at any time. Think about what they mean to you.

Sometimes you may be surprised at the directness and clarity of an answer. In response to "What is causing my anger" one person heard back, "You need to learn to say no." If the meaning or usefulness is not clear to you right away, don't worry. It may become clearer in the days or weeks ahead.

You can use a similar technique to have an inner dialogue with a symptom you are having. For example, if you are in pain, give it a color, shape or form. Then ask your pain questions:
Why are you here?

What can I learn from you?

When will you go away?

How can we live more peaceably together?

How can I get better?
Wait for responses. This dialogue can be done with any symptom or problem.

You have untapped knowledge, insight, and wisdom which is often drowned out by the incessant chatter of a busy mind. You can use imagery techniques to give voice to your inner wisdom, and consult your own inner advisor. There is nothing mysterious or magical about it. Simply by quieting down and bringing your mind into a focused and receptive state, valuable insights can emerge. These include suggestions on how to improve your health and well-being.

Adapted from Martin Rossman, MD and the Academy for Guided Imagery

Rx Imagine Yourself Well
You have the ability to create special imagery to alleviate specific symptoms or illnesses. Use any image that is strong and vivid for you (this often involves using all your senses to create the image), and one that is meaningful to you.

The image does not have to be physiologically accurate for it to work. Just use your imagination and trust yourself. Here are examples of images that some people have found useful. Use any of these images, or make up your own.

Remember, the best ones are vivid and have meaning to you.

For Tension and Stress
A tight, twisted rope slowly untwists
Wax softens and melts
Tension swirls out of your body and down the drain

For Healing of Cuts and Injuries
Plaster covers over a crack in a wall
Cells and fibers stick together with superglue
A shoe is laced up tight
Jigsaw puzzle pieces come together

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 About The Author
David S. Sobel, M.D., M.P.H., is a practicing physician in adult medicine and Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He is physician lead for the......moreDavid Sobel MD
 
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