Posted on December 9, 2009, under General health.

The use of visualisation techniques has played a part in treating disease from early times and in therapies from all over the world. The technique has been ‘rediscovered’ in recent times and is often used in conjunction with a number of other therapies to aid the natural healing process as well as to create a positive self-image.

During the 1920s Edmund Jacobson observed that a subject visualising himself running experienced involuntary twitches in the muscles of his legs. The link between mind and body was used by a Texan oncologist, Carl Simonton, and his wife Stephanie, to develop a treatment for cancer patients based on visualisation. Dr Simonton first tried out his treatment on a 61-year-old man with extensive throat cancer who could not eat and had lost an enormous amount of weight. The man agreed to co-operate in his own treatment by relaxing three times a day, mentally picturing his disease and an army of white blood cells attacking and overcoming the cancer cells. He also visualised his radiation therapy and the interaction of his body with the treatment. Within two weeks the man was rapidly gaining weight and his cancer had diminished noticeably. He continued his radiation therapy and was able to go fishing every day while undergoing it. Visualising himself as well, with a bright future, the patient was able to overcome the morbid depression which often characterises advanced cancer patients. He went on to get over arthritis, from which he had suffered for many years, and to become sexually active, after 20 years of impotence. His cancer remained completely in remission.

Visualisation therapy is now a popular alternative treatment which is used alongside more orthodox treatments for cancer. It is also used to treat a variety of other conditions. Resistance to illness in old age is believed to be enhanced by visualisations of a future in which you are healthy, happy, loving and hopeful. Asthma, heart disorders and phobias are also believed to be responsive to visualisation techniques, and some people have found it an effective technique for pain relief. Breathing and relaxation exercises are often enhanced by the use of visualisation.

This technique is taught and used by a range of different practitioners, including psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and sometimes by doctors, but you will have to rely on a personal referral to find a therapist.


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