Acupuncture isn’t the only alternative and complimentary treatment for Crohn’s sufferers. In fact, many affected by Crohn’s find that with the help of a special hypnosis technique known as guided imagery, they can obtain relief from their symptoms.
What is guided imagery? It is a type of hypnosis that is designed to help people use the power of their imagination to improve their emotional and physical wellbeing through personal, positive mental visualization.
Guided imagery can be directed by others such as a psychotherapist. In this situation, a therapist helps the patient achieve the power of mental imagery by talking to them, or by using video or audio to guide the person through the relaxation and visualization exercise. On the other hand, guided imagery can also be self-directed. This is when a person is able to put themselves in a relaxed state and uses their own images to achieve the same result.
What are the benefits of guided imagery for Crohn’s sufferers? Extensive research has found a powerful link between a person’s mind and their physical well being. It’s been discovered hat positive mental imagery can indeed encourage physical relaxation which can lower stress, improve mood, alleviate pain, and boost the immune system, all of which can play a role in triggering and worsening Crohn’s symptoms.
Furthermore, guided imagery can also improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal system, allowing for the relief of common Crohn’s symptoms such as bloating and constipation.
Another excellent benefit is self-directed guided imagery can be done anywhere, at anytime. In addition, even though one may require some training in order to master the technique on their own, it is an inexpensive treatment that can be achieved by anyone regardless of their demographic, and has no side-effects.
How does guided imagery work? Guided imagery is a process with two parts. The first is geared towards reaching a deeply relaxed state. This can be achieved by closing the eyes and focusing on slowly inhaling and exhaling, or by focusing on releasing tension from the muscles throughout the body. Relaxation tapes that feature tranquil music or the sounds of nature are often used to help achieve relaxation, as is Yoga, aromatherapy and massage.
The second process of guided imagery focuses on visualization. There are various methods that can be used for guided imagery such as relaxation imagery, mental rehearsal, healing imagery and pain control imagery. The following are examples of the techniques that may be the most helpful in assisting Crohn’s sufferers in finding relief from symptoms:
Healing imagery –This imagery focuses on visualizations that promote healing. For a Crohn’s sufferer this could mean imagining their inflamed intestines are an inflated red balloon. They can imagine curing inflammation by deflating the balloon. As they watch the balloon shrink to nothing so does their inflammation.
Pain control imagery – This imagery is designed to control pain through various imagery methods. One technique is for a person to produce a mental image of what they perceive the pain to look like, and then transform this image into something that is manageable and not so frightening; something the person feels confident they can control.
In order to be successful, a guided imagery session should be performed in a quiet and relaxing location. It should never be used while driving or when actively participating in something that requires your full concentration such as using tools or operating machinery.
There are many books, CD, DVD’s, etc. available at both online and local stores that can help you achieve self-directed guided imagery. However, you may want to think about finding a trained psychotherapist, especially if you have problems achieving visualizations on your own. To look for a hypnosis specialist in your area you can conduct a search online, and visit sites geared toward hypnosis such as academyforguidedimagery.com.
By Sharon Dobson. To find out more about vitamin and crohns and for information on Crohn's Disease please visit Natural Crohn's Disease Relief , where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Crohn's Disease naturally.