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Reduce Stress With Guided Imagery

Posted 1/6/2015 by UHBlog

Learn more about integrative medicine at University Hospitals.

Reduce Stress With Guided Imagery

Many people pledge to lose weight or get fit when the New Year arrives. But resolving to reduce your physical reaction to stress in 2015 could also yield big health benefits this year and beyond. One powerful tool: guided imagery.

“Guided imagery is a form of meditation that uses the senses to induce a state of relaxation, and also promotes healing and decreases pain,” says integrative psychiatrist Francoise Adan, MD, Medical Director of the Connor Integrative Health Network. During a session, people might be guided to focus their attention on a relaxing image like the beach at sunset or imagine themselves in a pleasant, healing environment.

Like other forms of meditation, guided imagery can help reduce the stress response – slowing heart rate, reducing blood pressure and lowering levels of stress hormones that can lead to negative health consequences.

Studies show that guided imagery also improves wound healing after surgery and helps cancer patients face chemotherapy infusions with less anxiety. It can also be helpful for patients facing a frightening or painful procedure and can take the place of a sedating medication, if a patient can’t take such a drug.

“It’s an easy tool to use,” says Dr. Adan. “There are no side effects. And you can’t do it wrong.”

Dr. Adan has developed a meditation CD using guided imagery entitled “Let My Words Be Your Words.” The CD can be purchased for $10 in the UH Ahuja Medical Center and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center gift shops, and in suite 120 at UH Ahuja Medical Center.

Francoise Adan, MD is an integrative psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Dr. Adan or any other doctor online.

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