“Hope is a biochemical reaction in the body.”

 — Dr. Christianne Northrup

Research shows that what we think is often what we create in our bodies and in our world. Visualization, guided imagery, and meditation are all ways to harness the power of our minds to create peace and healing. Creating or utilizing a visualization can help us regain a sense of control as we become an active participant in our own healing.

Many studies support the effectiveness of visualization in improving the healing process. Peggy Huddleston, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, developed five mind-body techniques, including one for visualization. Research showed that surgery patients who practiced these techniques used less pain medication, healed faster, and reported reduced anxiety. Huddleston’s program can be applied to a range of healing goals. To reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, she offers specific guidelines to follow with emphasis on visualizing a successful outcome.

Many experts believe that the reason visualization works is that the nervous system actually experiences what we visualize. To the nervous system, in that moment, it’s already a reality. Dr. Bernie Siegel, cancer expert and author of Love, Medicine & Miracles and The Art of Healing, says that using visualization with disease is the same as an athlete using it to improve their performance. He says, “When an athlete visualizes success, their body really is experiencing success. When you imagine something, your body really feels like it’s happening.”

There are countless varieties of visualization out there. With regard to healing from cancer, visualization can range from seeing oneself peaceful and calm to imagining the cancer cells being destroyed. In Lynne McTaggart’s book The Intention Experiment, she discusses a series of studies in which cancer patients used visualization. What researchers found in these studies was that the highest success rate resulted from visualizations that had the intention of returning the cells to their natural order—a specific healthy outcome (as opposed to the destruction of cancer or illness). This approach involved letting nature or a greater healing presence restore balance and health.

You may decide to create your own visualization or you may choose a CD or website with guided imagery that resonates with you. In either case, keep in mind that the most effective visualizations are positive, present tense, have vibrant images, and have a personal and emotional resonance for the visualizer.

For Further Exploration:

Creative Visualization: Your Mind Can Keep You Well

Guided Imagery and Visualization, including Step-by-Step Instructions

Cancer-Healing Visualizations

David Seidler, Who Wrote the Movie The King’s Speach, Says He Cured Himself of Cancer through Visualization

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