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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: VISUALIZATION

The mind has a powerful influence on the body. Whether this is through psychoneuroimmunology or through a direct mind/body connection as the Eastern philosophies suggest, the mind can be used to cure problems. Visualization, or forming meaningful images in the mind, is a visual approach to meditation that can have a therapeutic effect in several ways, especially in conjunction with hypnotherapy. Most of us will note that a pain is far less severe if we are happy or doing something we enjoy rather than sitting around focusing on a discomfort. We can harness this positive mental attitude to overcome stress and other problems by using visualization techniques. Imagining yourself in beautiful surroundings while using relaxation and breathing techniques has the power to counteract negative thinking, anxiety, fear and low self-esteem. It can also be used to defuse a stressful situation, such as going to the dentist; the use of positive imagery can help us to overcome apprehension and help us face challenges.

Just as the mind can override psychological problems, the same energy can be used to heal physical complaints. Visualization is a taught technique that trains the body to visualize the destruction of a problem. Forming a clear image of the part of the body in need of healing can cause actual improvement to take place. An example would be to imagine a small man with an axe chopping away at a tumourous lump. A hose can be imagined to be flushing out the sinuses and a tailor to be stitching up a hernia. See the part of your body that needs healing or strengthening becoming strong and whole again. In cases of infection, you could see the white blood cells in your bloodstream as attacking warriors destroying disease organisms and new healthy cells multiplying in their place.

As a therapy on its own, it may have limited value, but in combination with other more orthodox or mainstream alternative therapies it can speed up healing. It is now increasingly used in this way in many hospitals and clinics alongside conventional treatment.

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