The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Academic performance, addiction, allergies, angina, arthritis, asthma, athletic performance enhancement, bacterial infections, bone and wound healing, cancer, chemotherapy related nausea, chronic bronchitis, controlling blood pressure, creative thinking stimulation, depression, diabetes, dyspnea, eating disorders, emphysema, fungal infections, gastrointestinal motility and secretion, glaucoma, herpes simplex virus, high cholesterol, immune system enhancement, increasing breast milk, lung disease, mood enhancement, nausea/vomiting, nightmares, obesity, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), psoriasis, psychological disorders, relationship conflicts, relaxation, self-esteem improvement, sexual function/impotence, skin conditions, spastic colon, stress, well-being, viral warts.
Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Serious adverse effects have not been reported in the available scientific literature. Theoretically, intense inward focusing may cause pre-existing psychological problems or personality disorders to surface. Guided imagery should not be relied upon as a sole therapy for potentially serious medical problems. Guided imagery is usually used as a supplemental technique to other treatments, not as a replacement.
Guided imagery techniques should not be practiced while driving or during other activity requiring strict attention. Guided imagery may trigger physical symptoms that can be brought about by stress, anxiety, or emotional upset. If practicing guided imagery produces anxiety, a qualified healthcare professional should be consulted. Similarly, people with a history of trauma or abuse should speak with a healthcare professional before using this technique.
This patient information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Jill M. Grimes Serrano, PhD (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Katie Nummy, BS (Northeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Baird CL, Sands L. A pilot study of the effectiveness of guided imagery with progressive muscle relaxation to reduce chronic pain and mobility difficulties of osteoarthritis. Pain Manag Nurs 2004;5(3):97-104.
Carr RR, Nahata MC. Complementary and alternative medicine for upper-respiratory-tract infection in children. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2006 Jan 1;63(1):33-9.
Chen KM, Chen MH, Hong SM, et al. Physical fitness of older adults in senior activity centres after 24-week silver yoga exercises. J Clin Nurs 2008 Oct;17(19):2634-46.
Danhauer SC, Marler B, Rutherford CA, et al. Music or guided imagery for women undergoing colposcopy: a randomized controlled study of effects on anxiety, perceived pain, and patient satisfaction. J Low Genit Tract Dis 2007 Jan;11(1):39-45.
Fried RG, Hussain SH. Nonpharmacologic management of common skin and psychocutaneous disorders. Dermatol Ther 2008 Jan-Feb;21(1):60-8.
Klaus L, Beniaminovitz A, Choi L, et al. Pilot study of guided imagery use in patients with severe heart failure. Am J Cardiol 7-1-2000;86(1):101-104.
Kshettry VR, Carole LF, Henly SJ, et al. Complementary alternative medical therapies for heart surgery patients: feasibility, safety, and impact. Ann Thorac Surg 2006 Jan;81(1):201-5.
Louie SW. The effects of guided imagery relaxation in people with COPD. Occup Ther Int 2004;11(3):145-159.
Menzies V, Taylor AG, Bourguignon C. Effects of guided imagery on outcomes of pain, functional status, and self-efficacy in persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia. J Altern Complement Med 2006 Jan-Feb;12(1):23-30.
Moseley GL. Using visual illusion to reduce at-level neuropathic pain in paraplegia. Pain 2007 Aug;130(3):294-8.
Munsch S, Michael T, Biedert E, et al. Negative mood induction and unbalanced nutrition style as possible triggers of binges in binge eating disorder (BED). Eat Weight Disord. 2008 Mar;13(1):22-9.
Toth M, Wolsko PM, Foreman J, et al. A pilot study for a randomized, controlled trial on the effect of guided imagery in hospitalized medical patients. J Altern Complement Med 2007 Mar;13(2):194-7.
Trakhtenberg EC. The effects of guided imagery on the immune system: a critical review. Int J Neurosci. 2008 Jun;118(6):839-55.
Weydert JA, Shapiro DE, Acra SA, et al. Evaluation of guided imagery as treatment for recurrent abdominal pain in children: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Pediatr 2006 Nov 8;6:29.
Wynd CA. Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence. J Nurs Scholarsh 2005;37(3):245-50.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children,
never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.