A critical review in the International Journal of Neuroscience by Ephraim C. Trakhtenberg from the  Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, looked at the research on the effect that guided imagery has on immune system functioning and proposed direction for future research.

Trakhtenberg found that the studies suggest that guided imagery can reduce stress and up-regulate the immune system; that cell-specific imagery affects corresponding white blood cells (WBC’s)- neutrophils, or lymphocytes; that decreases in WBC count occur in the initial stages of GI and relaxation, due to fluctuations in WBC production or margination; and that changes in WBC count or adherence occur earlier in medical patients.  The investigator suggests that future articles define the ideal WBC count; investigate the effects of long-term practice of GI; and clarify the influence of cell-specific imagery on WBCs.

Citation:  Trakhtenberg EC. The effects of guided imagery on the immune system: a critical review. International Journal of Neuroscience. 2008 Jun;118 (6): pages 839-55. [email protected]