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Monthly Archives: July 2015

  1. Imagery Great For Surgery, Second Only To Fabulous Surgeon

    Imagery Great For Surgery, Second Only To Fabulous Surgeon

    We were pretty tickled to find this ringing endorsement of guided imagery for before, during and after surgery, from a Kaiser Permanente HMO member who found it on the KP patient education web page.

    A friend of mine recommended guided imagery for surgery --- her surgeon had recommended it to her. I was lucky to find out that Kaiser offers this on their website, and I was able to get it there.

    I listened to the "pre-surgery" (tracks 2 and 3) portion each evening for a couple of weeks before my (hip replacement) surgery (skipping past the intro each evening).

    I took my portable CD player into pre-op with me and was listening to it as they prepared me for the operating room, and was still listening to it as they wheeled me down the hall.

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  2. Guided Imagery Reduces Irritable Bowel Symptoms

    In a small pilot study, Israeli researchers from Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University examined the impact of guided imagery on Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS.

    A total of 15 irritable bowel syndrome patients received guided affective imagery and 19 patients served as controls. Symptom severity and irritable bowel syndrome quality of life were measured at baseline and at 8 weeks.

    Findings revealed that IBS symptom severity decreased in the guided affective imagery group, as compared with the controls (-1.5 ± 1.9 vs 0.1 ± 1.6, p = 0.04).

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  3. Back-to-School Season Celebrates the Importance of Education

    Back-to-School Season Celebrates the Importance of Education

    Despite the fact that it's a harbinger of summer's end, I love the whole back-to-school gestalt. There is a sense of optimism and excitement in the air and we are surrounded by a plethora of brightly-colored educational supplies—a treat for the senses and fodder for the creative spirit.

    Many classrooms are switching from notebooks and textbooks to computers and electronic tablets, but this time of year, even computers, phones and tech gadgets get to dress up in cool sleeves and covers. There are backpacks, lunch bags, new clothes and shoes to buy. Don't forget to check out the list of states that offer tax-free holidays for the purchase of school supplies.


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  4. How To Prepare For A High Stress Tour Of Duty At Landstuhl

    How To Prepare For A High Stress Tour Of Duty At Landstuhl


    Dear Belleruth,
    I am leaving soon for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, to provide mental health services to our military and their families. I have been in private practice for the last 6 years, and have used your book Invisible Heroes and CD's nearly daily. My question is this:
    Do you have any advice for me as I begin this two year assignment?

    Warm Regards,


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  5. Stress Management Tips by Belleruth Naparstek

    Stress Management Tips by Belleruth Naparstek

    Fifteen Fabulous, Fool-Proof De-Stressing Tips

    Hello again.

    Well, I know summer is supposed to the season of less stress – a time away from over-scheduling and killer routines; a time for vacations and kicking back...

    And truly, I hope your summer is going that way.

    But from my perch, I'm hearing a lot of stress, worry and agitation. People are worrying over their summer trips; about cobbling together the right combo of week-long sports camps and art camps for their kids; about getting their children ready for school, because in many parts of the country, it starts, weirdly enough, in mid-August; about seeing too much or too little of their grown kids; about having so much company coming and going, they feel like they're running an Airbnb. I've also heard a hefty amount of teeth gnashing about the summer slipping by and all those special projects waiting to be tackled... well, they're still waiting.

    Now, I grant you, these are FWP's (First World Problems) of the first order, and can't hold a candle to poverty, war, famine, natural disaster and real human misery.
    But often that's the nature of stress. Even when we know we're overreacting to stuff that's ridiculously trivial in the larger scheme of things, there we are - still overreacting.

    So I decided it was time to assemble a new, updated list of common sense, stress management tips.

    I get that nobody's going to adopt all fifteen. How stressful would that be?? But just a few of these tips can make a big difference. I suggest starting with the easiest ones to take on first – then add another. Success breeds success.

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  6. Guided Imagery Just Might Be The Perfect Thing For Insomnia

    Guided Imagery Just Might Be The Perfect Thing For Insomnia

    Guided imagery, it turns out, is an ideal intervention for insomnia. The voice tone and music soothe the primitive, over-alert, survival-based parts of the brain; and the content and images distract the neocortex that's busy worrying over the to-do lists of the coming day or reviewing the slights and shoulda-saids of the day before.

    Here's what the wife of one sleep-deprived guy had to tell us (We know it sounds over the top, but this is verbatim):

    The guided imagery for Healthful Sleep has changed my husband's life. Not an exaggeration. He used to take medicine to help him relax at night. He could sleep, but it wasn't restful sleep. He thrashed, had nightmares, and always felt tired the next day - even after 12+ hours of sleep. After using the imagery a few nights, he was able to quit taking medicine because he began sleeping so restfully. One big, unexpected side-benefit: he's much better company!

    I also sleep much more soundly and feel more rested. The mornings after I listen to this particular imagery, I feel what I can only describe as 10 years younger. It occurs to me that truly healthful sleep would improve general health, energy, mood and prepare you to deal effectively with stress. Good sleep is invaluable! I tell my patients, if they can only afford one guided imagery audio, they should get the sleep one.

    Doubly Delighted Doc

    p.s. If you liked this post, you might enjoy getting our weekly e-news with other articles just like it. If so, sign up here!

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  7. Can Mindfulness Training Improve Resilience In Marines Preparing To Deploy?

    Can Mindfulness Training Improve Resilience In Marines Preparing To Deploy?

    Researchers from the University of California at San Diego examined whether mindfulness training can improve resilience in active duty Marines preparing for deployment.

    Eight Marine infantry platoons (N=281) were randomly selected. Four platoons were assigned to receive mindfulness training (N=147) and four were assigned to a training-as-usual control condition (N=134).

    Platoons were assessed at baseline, 8 weeks after baseline, and during and after a stressful combat training session approximately 9 weeks after baseline.

    The mindfulness training condition was delivered in the form of 8 weeks of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT), a program comprising 20 hours of classroom instruction plus daily homework exercises.

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  8. Tips and Tricks to Soothe Travel-related Tension

    Tips and Tricks to Soothe Travel-related Tension

    Carolyn Daitch, PhD, author of Managing the Distress of Cancer and its Treatment, wrote to Belleruth to generously share her travel tips. Belleruth generously shared them with us and all the happy Health Journeys travelers.

    "As we approach the month of August when many of my clients schedule their summer getaways," Daitch wrote, "The topic of travel-related anxiety comes up frequently.

    Some of her recommendations:

    • Calm your nervous system with a relaxation technique. It's hard to think reasonably when your body is anxious. Listen to a meditation CD, or practice slow breathing to lower your baseline anxiety level.

    • Write down your worries. The mere act of writing creates some detachment from your concerns and helps you achieve some objectivity.

    • Remember that there are stores where you are going. It's not a disaster if you forget to pack everything.

    • Embrace uncertainty. Let's face it: life is uncertain and travel is even more so. Say a self-statement, "I accept uncertainty. I may not like it, but I can handle it."
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  9. What Can this Grade School Teacher Do for Her Traumatized Kids?

    What Can this Grade School Teacher Do for Her Traumatized Kids?



    I need guided imagery for elementary school students living in violence. The Invisible Heroes book looks wonderful, but does it have anything for trauma in children?

    I am a counselor working in a large elementary school, and I need something that I can use with groups of children. Any suggestions?

    Thank you,


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  10. A Special Perk for Our E-News Subscribers – to the Tune of a 20% Discount!

    A Special Perk for Our E-News Subscribers – to the Tune of a 20% Discount!

    Okay, good e-news subscribers. Cindy is on the loose with yet another special perk, just for you guys. This time, aside from the free guided imagery download you already got when you signed up, you can now also get 20% off your next order. Those of you who are already subscribers will find the promo code in the special features box on the 7/22/15 e-news.

    If you don't currently subscribe, she tells us, you can sign up now, and get that free guided imagery download plus the 20% off your next order*. All you have to do is sign up and confirm your subscription before the offer expires on August 5, 2015. Be sure to order using the promo code before that August 5th expiration date.

    So, what's in this e-news, some might ask...

    Well, every week our Health Journeys newsletter features at least one, hot off the presses summary of the findings of a mind-body research article (in user-friendly English) – so you're among the first to hear about a significant new study of guided imagery, meditation, hypnosis, biofeedback, acupressure and the like.

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