Sometimes healing a painful, chronic condition can become your day job, but if it works, it's well worth it. Hats off to this inspired sufferer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD), who has cobbled together a mix of standard and integrative techniques to remediate this difficult condition.
We found this post on Facebook, because BR was tagged – one of the interventions was guided imagery for pain.
Hello! I am a student physical therapist and am working at one of my clinical rotations right now. I have noticed several patients could benefit from guided imagery to help them relax. Do you have any short sessions, between 10-15 minutes? Patients will often have a hot or cold pack, etc for 10-15 minutes and I would love to try a guided imagery session at the same time, since we shut the lights off anyways to help promote relaxation. Thank you for your time.
Someone who suffered a traumatic injury, with many broken bones, lots of pain and multiple surgeries, gives a testimonial to the power of guided imagery for help with sleep, pain and despair.
It should also be noted that some of the very earliest studies with guided imagery – back in the 70's and 80's, with Jean Achtenberg and Frank Lawlis, demonstrated that it could in fact speed up the healing of broken bone tissue.
Here is the note:
I have had the healing from trauma CD for years and listen to it almost daily; it has helped me through a very trying time involving a very bad fall which broke several bones as well as aggravation of old back surgery, necessitating another surgery soon. If not for imagery, I would never be able to take as little as a third of the pain Rx's, or sleep well without pills. I know that I'll be able to get through the rest of this experience with this imagery. It marshals my inner strength and gives me patience. And hope. Thank you, thank you.
Researchers from the Santa Lucia Foundation IRCCS and Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy, evaluated the impact of progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and phantom exercises on phantom pain in 51 subjects with unilateral lower limb amputation who experienced phantom limb pain (PLP) and/or phantom limb sensation (PLS).
The randomized controlled prospective trial was conducted on the amputee unit of a rehabilitation hospital, using 2 parallel groups.
The experimental group received combined training of progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery, and phantom exercises 2 times/wk for 4 weeks, while the control group had the same amount of physical therapy dedicated to the residual limb. No pharmacological intervention was initiated during the trial period.
Hi, I wrote to you a few years ago... about your healing trauma book and my book about fibro... I have been fine for 7 years but since late Oct. this year, I've been in a lot of pain... any suggestions would be really helpful... been a very difficult and stressful time for me and not sure what to do... the pain is very different than before... cannot lift my arms, my left leg and lower back hurt, mostly... thanks.
In this pilot study, researchers from the University of Montreal investigated the impact of a guided imagery intervention on post-op pain intensity, anxiety, coping and daily activities in adolescents and young adults, ages 11-20, after undergoing orthopedic surgery (spinal fusion) for idiopathic scoliosis.
Participants were randomized to standard care or standard care with the guided imagery intervention. The intervention consisted of a DVD with information and guided imagery/relaxation exercises to practice at least three times a week at home.
A nurse screened the DVD with the patient pre-operatively and at discharge (T1) and telephoned 2 weeks post-discharge (T2) to reinforce the use of the technique.
Researchers from the University of Almeria and Poniente Hospital in Almeria, Spain, evaluated the effects of guided imagery as a nursing intervention for pain management and depression in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
In this 8-week, quasi-experimental study, patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, aged 18 to 70 years (n = 60), were randomly assigned to a guided imagery group (n = 30) or a control group (n = 30).
The pain outcomes were measured by the McGill Pain Questionnaire long form (MPQ-LF) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Depression was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory and the VAS for depression. Scores were examined at baseline, post-intervention (4th week), and at the end of the study (8th week).
In this pilot study, researchers from the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, investigated the efficacy of guided imagery for pain management with adolescents, ages 11-20 years, after undergoing spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis, a medical procedure that entails considerable anxiety and postoperative pain.
Participants were randomized to standard care or standard care with the guided imagery intervention, which consisted of a DVD with information and guided imagery/relaxation exercises to practice at least three times a week at home.
A nurse screened the DVD with the patient preoperatively and at discharge (T1) and telephoned 2 weeks post-discharge (T2) to reinforce the technique. Both groups completed questionnaires at T1, T2, and T3 (1-month postoperative follow-up).
This email came to us from a physician who suffered a painful, ruptured cervical disk. He had serious reservations about opting for back surgery if he could use other, less invasive methods, and guided imagery helped him with the pain enough to allow him to hold out and use yoga and chiropractic to get the job done. Check it out:
Dear Health Journeys,
I have experienced first hand how effective guided imagery can be. I am a long- time distributor and have always believed in the efficacy of imagery, but experiencing its benefits personally takes my enthusiasm to a whole, new level.
I used the Ease Pain imagery during a very rough time with a ruptured cervical disk, which is now fully under control, thanks in large part to Chiropractic and Yoga.
A water aerobics instructor reports that guided imagery with a distinctly Christian flavor is a helpful element in the cool-down phase of her water aerobics and with water tai chi classes, designed for people suffering from arthritis. Here are her own words:Dear Health Journeys,
I am a water aerobics instructor, who also teaches tai chi in the water to people suffering from arthritis. I discovered imagery in the library on the internet. Now that we have a nice, new, warm, 30-person, hydrotherapy pool, I now use my own guided imagery for the cool-down part of my classes.
I use sayings and visualizations that I have written and say quietly to my classes, as they move their arms and legs slowly to keep warm during this time. I encourage them to close their eyes and imagine.
Because this is a Bible-based faith community, I use images of Jesus, and I close with prayer. This seems to be a very effective, soothing and a much-appreciated way to conclude my classes.
Blessings to all of you,
[Ed. Note: For excellent, Bible-based guided imagery, the Rev. Donna Shenk and Dr. Robert Miller have created the Tranquilities Series, which can be found here.]