A Guide to Visualization

“I’m a man of vision…and I like what I see.” So sang Bill Nelson to kick off his classic 1980s song “Contemplation. Mr. Nelson does not go on to specifically mention the alternative medical practice of visualization, but the Middle Eastern feel of the song does seem like the perfect audio accompaniment to this method of making you feel better that remains mainly a mystery to those in charge of America’s Health Care.

Visualization has been known to improve performance in many areas of life and is a technique often used by business leaders, professionals, and athletes. It involves imagining your goals and aspirations and going through the motions to achieve them in your mind’s eye — essentially you visualize yourself achieving your goals.

For example, the baseball player who visualizes himself making a game-saving diving catch. Or the Olympic gymnast who, while using practice gymnastic mats in her house, visualizes herself maintaining unwavering balance and sticking a perfect landing.

While visualization is popular among successful people, it has other potential applications.

Visualization for Healing

Visualization as an alternative medical choice is somewhat similar to using meditation. The primary difference is that you can throw away the necessity for a mantra and relocate in the mantra’s space the inside your mind an image that tells a little story. This mental story helps to create a sense of relaxation. Have you noticed how many alternative medical treatments are based on your ability to relax? That’s because much of what we suffer unduly is caused by high levels of stress. You would think that the modern world of the 21st Century would have resulted in a lessening of stress thanks to technological developments, but alas this is the not the case. Stress may not necessarily create the problems that visualization seeks to address, but it can make it worse.

Scienticians still remain in the dark when it comes to understanding how visualization can help a patient, but their best guess is that it has something to do with the release of endorphins. Endorphins are nature’s Tylenol except that nobody can tamper with them and kill you. Pain relief is a major structural foundation for the use of visualization as an effective alternative treatment. Imaging technology has revealed that some parts of the human brain activate regardless of whether or not a person is actually engaging in an activity or just imagining. Visualization has roughly the same kind of effect on the body as dreaming. When you are dreaming about being chased by a monster, you pulse and heart rate increase and you may even tighten your leg muscles as if you were running. Visualization works by focusing on creating the image of the activity in your mind and thereby allowing the endorphins to do their thing.

The great thing about visualization to treat your medical ailments is that you don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t have to go to a special room. You can just sit quietly in your favorite chair at home and go to work. Some people like to utilize audio that has been pre-recorded to help them visualize their imagery. You can take that path or you can just relax and visualize the images yourself. The key is to create imagery that helps treat specific problems.

For instance, if you have asthma or bronchitis your visualization imagery would include focusing on breathing easily. Meanwhile you focus your body on actually breathing deeply and evenly. If you are suffering from inflammation like hemorrhoid, your visualization imagery focuses on the shrinking up and ultimate disappearance of the hemorrhoids. You get the idea. Now try it.