Ease Pain Naturally with Guided Imagery Benefits


Visualise a serene garden with lush plants and maybe even a picnic with a variety of sandwiches, macarons and birds chirping in the background. When going through gruelling hardships, we often find our comfort through imagination or reminiscing on happy memories. In this article, we will look further into what is guided imagery, showing how it helps ease pain, improve sleep, and support addiction recovery for a better, balanced life.

What is Guided Imagery?

The pandemic saw a rise in the concept of manifesting dreams and lucid dreaming techniques as a way for people to escape reality even if for just 8 hours. This is because this method of using visualisation integrating our senses and all of ourselves is effective. By consistently going to your happy place mentally, you can gain a variety of benefits such as stress reduction, improved mobility and sleep and many more (Beaumont, 2024). This form of visualisation is widely practised as a form of therapy for pain management. Guided imagery is a technique for relaxation that utilises one’s imagination to visualise specific pictures, sounds, etc. to relax oneself, reduce stress and pain and calm oneself down (West, 2022). 

How does it work?

This therapy is often used alongside psychotherapies by engaging all five senses through imagining feelings or sensations interacting with the visualised environment. This also includes a combination of breathing techniques, meditation and creative cues provided by the therapist. The best part about this form of imagery is that it can be stimulated by oneself or by a therapist (PhD, 2023). The benefits of common use of this technique have an immense impact on our livelihood. 

What are Some Therapeutic Benefits?

1. Reduces the long list of medications for recovering patients

Oftentimes, while suffering from major injuries and pain, patients are overloaded with different kinds of medication including sleep, anxiety, etc. Instead of adding more medicines to their long existing list, it can be helpful to seek guided imagery as a form of pain reliever.

2. Improves sleep quality in people vulnerable to mental disorders as a result of sleep deprivation

Guided imagery can be an essential aid in protecting vulnerable people from being negatively impacted by a lack of sleep. A lack of sleep in these women was often correlated with postpartum depression. Studies show that postpartum women who were unable to sleep due to pain and other obstacles slept easily using guided imagery (Schaffer et al., 2013).

3. Minimises pain perception in patients dealing with physiological issues and diseases

The actual pain patients experience while going through major physiological issues can also be decreased significantly through guided imagery. One study used guided imagery on patients experiencing cancer pain and found it to be effective for several patients. This is interlinked with how these patients perceive their pain even though their condition may be the same (Kwekkeboom et al., 2008).

4. Helps with Addiction Recovery in people suffering from substance abuse and Addiction

The impact of guided imagery during therapy has been significant in treating addiction and substance abuse. After going through guided imagery, patients felt relieved of their cravings with a dramatic decrease of 32% indicated by one study. This can be a helpful way for patients to envision their life without addiction and move on from hardships (Lowry et al., 2021).

To conclude, it can be overwhelming to deal with life and injuries that leave their mark. During such hardships, guided imagery can be extremely beneficial when patients receive hefty medication routines. Apart from the medical practice of this form of therapy, it is a good habit to maintain for anyone seeking stress reduction and other enormous benefits. Whether for medical purposes or individual fulfilment, guided imagery is a must-try for everyone

References +
  • Beaumont. (2024). Benefits of Guided Imagery for Pain Management | Beaumont | Beaumont Health. 
  • Kwekkeboom, K. L., Hau, H., Wanta, B., & Bumpus, M. (2008). Patients’ perceptions of the effectiveness of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation interventions used for cancer pain. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 14(3), 185–194. 
  • Lowry, N., Marsden, J., Clydesdale, B., Eastwood, B., Havelka, E. M., & Goetz, C. (2021). Acute impact of self‐guided mental imagery on craving in cocaine use disorder: a mixed‐methods analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Addiction, 116(9), 2418–2430. 
  • Nunez, K. (2020, September 10). Guided Imagery: How To and Benefits for Sleep, Anxiety, More. Healthline.
  • Ph.D, J. N. (2023, March 14). What Is Guided Imagery & How Can It Help Your Clients Heal? 
  • Schaffer, L., Jallo, N., Howland, L., James, K., Glaser, D., & Arnell, K. (2013). Guided Imagery. The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 27(2), 151–159. 
  • West, M. (2022, April 21). Guided imagery: Techniques, benefits, and more.
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