Summer is a season of simpler pleasures and just being, enjoying what’s right in front of us: sunshine, fresh fruit, bare feet in the grass, an ice-cold glass of lemonade. And, of course, the long, lazy days of summer were made for daydreaming.
Guided imagery takes the positive aspects of daydreaming up a notch. At Hudson Healing Arts, we offer this form of deliberate, directed daydreaming to encourage instant stress relief, deep relaxation, and even enhanced physical health. It’s a wonderful complementary treatment for those living with chronic illness or pain. You can think of guided imagery as a mental vacation with healing benefits, one that has as much impact as taking a physical trip!
The best part? This powerful practice is accessible to anyone and everyone, and requires nothing but your own receptivity. And a little imagination, of course (don’t worry if yours is rusty!). A guided imagery session is like stepping into a portal of relaxation, one that already exists within you.
What Are The Benefits Of Guided Imagery?
It’s no secret that your mind has remarkable sway over your body and emotional state. Just briefly thinking about your favorite meal can instantly make your mouth water; the anticipation of an upcoming trip can create immense, very real happiness. The images we concoct in our mind’s eye can feel every bit as emotional and powerful as actual events.
At the same time, this mind-body connection can also work against us. We’ve all felt the physical symptoms of worry and stress, whether it’s nausea, chest pain, or otherwise.
Guided imagery taps into the powerful link between the mind and body to create harmony, with deep relaxation as the result. Because the healing images and messages are received in an altered state, they are able to bypass the “monkey mind” and truly resonate in your subconscious on multiple levels. Just a few potential benefits include:
What Is A Session Like?
Guided imagery harnesses the unique power of visualization to improve both physical and emotional health, but no two sessions are alike. Hudson Healing Arts founder and practitioner Beth O’Boyle tailors each session to your specific needs. There’s no need to worry if you don’t consider yourself a “visual” person: Guided imagery is an experience that engages all five senses and is experienced through the body, not just the mind’s eye.
There may be something specific you’d like to focus on, such as overcoming a fear or healing from a broken relationship. For those dealing with health challenges, guided imagery is a powerful, scientifically-backed method of focusing or redirecting the body’s energy to support increased wellbeing. Please note that guided imagery is not a substitute for good medical care. It can however, both complement and enhance the benefits in a safe and gentle way.
It’s not necessary to have a specific “goal” in mind - you may simply be seeking relief from the general stress and anxiety of everyday life. Each session starts with a brief conversation about how you’d like to feel or respond so that it’s optimized for your unique needs and desires.
When it’s time to begin, you’ll relax on a massage table, close your eyes, and the process of gradual relaxation will begin. Part of the reason that guided imagery is so powerful is because it catalyzes an altered state (similar to what is experienced in meditation and hypnosis, though there are a few differences). Beth has extensive experience gently guiding clients into deep relaxation, a rare respite from the normal stress and mind-chatter of our everyday state. This not only gives your nervous system a much-needed break, but creates the space for profound growth and opens the gateway for physical healing too.
Even better, there’s nothing at all you need to do in a guided imagery session! Beth does all the talking, using specific words and thoughts to connect to your subconscious, and no response is needed. All you have to do is lie there comfortably and allow your energy to be directed in a healthier, more supportive way!
Guided Imagery At Hudson Healing Arts
Interested in experiencing the benefits of guided imagery yourself? We’d love to see you. Beth can be reached at (201) 653-7700 ext.1 and is more than happy to answer any questions you may have. And of course, we encourage everyone to have a joyful summer full of daydreaming!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.