Think Yourself Well: Scientific Evidence for the Power of Visualisation

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A 2008 study at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak demonstrated the power of visualisation for the treatment of interstitial cystitis. Fifteen women visualised for 25 minutes, twice a day, for a total of 8 weeks, where they pictured healing the bladder, relaxing the pelvic-floor muscles and quietening the nerves involved. Fifteen women in a control group rested during these times so that the researchers could compare visualisation vs. non-visualisation.

After the 8 weeks, the women who visualised had significantly reduced symptoms and pain than those who didn’t.

A 2008 study published in the Journal for the Society of Integrative Oncology demonstrated that visualisation reduced the risk of reoccurrence of breast cancer. The study involved 34 women who participated in an 8-week imagery program. It found that the women who visualised had reduced stress and improved quality of life. It also found that cortisol rhythm, which is an indicator of the probability of the reoccurrence of cancer, was improved and thus the likelihood of cancer returning was reduced.

Visualisation even affects wound healing, which was shown in a 2007 study at Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing, involving 24 patients undergoing surgery to remove their gallbladders. The study found that, not only did visualisation reduce levels of anxiety and stress hormone levels but those who used it had much lower levels of surgical wound erythema, which is redness around a wound that’s usually associated with infection or inflammation.

In effect, visualisation seems able to speed up the healing of our wounds.

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