Despite our best efforts, sometimes we get in the way of our own progress. Negative ideas, feelings, fears, misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations or perceptions can leave us feeling trapped, putting our bodies in an unnecessary state of "code red" alert -- far, far away from any sense of balance.
Hands-on techniques and energy healing approaches stimulate a Relaxation Response, but we can also use our thoughts to communicate to our bodies that we are safe to release tension, stress and fear, as well as embrace a good old fashioned "gone fishin'!" moment to recharge our batteries.
Guided Imagery and Meditation are classified as mind-body medicine by NCCAM. It is regarded in many cultures and healing traditions, as well as allopathic medicine, as a fundamental approach that enhances each person's capacity for self-knowledge and self-care. In the 1950's and '60s, science identified metabolic changes and general shifts in the electrical activity (the opposite reaction to a stress response) in the brains of Yogis and Zen monks, consistent with self-reports of a relaxed state of mind. The late 1960's to 1970's introduced the West to Transcendental Meditation, which inspired the groundbreaking research that identified increased coherence between the activity of the left and right sides of the brain. Today's studies of guided imagery and meditation examine these physiological and neurological changes with more sensitive equipment and new technologies, and the results are the same: quiet mind, quiet body...happier mind, happier body.
Equally as relevant are the effects of prayer, which also fall under the Mind-Body category of the NCCAM system. Whether studying the healing of individuals actively praying or those on the receiving end, science repeatedly confirms the power of prayer (for more information, see Measuring the Immeasurable reference on the previous page).
Mind-body approaches offer effective strategies for navigating difficult situations in the heat of the moment. They not only strengthen the long-term effects of energy work, but also provide a useful method for remaining calm, centered and focused during trying times. Guided Imagery has a long history of use in the fields of medicine, athletics, business, education, and theater arts, and is easy to use in ANY situation. Also, the content of Guided Imagery can be tailored to your individual needs, interests and life experiences.
Progressive Relaxation, Pranayama breathing techniques (the science of breath control as a spiritual practice of cleansing and linking the body, mind and spirit), self-help Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) and Mudras (gestures and positions -- usually of the hands -- that lock and guide energy flow and reflexes to the brain) add to our collection of self-support techniques that allow us to guide our own healing. With so many tools at your disposal to help you reach the calm zone just when you need it, like, yesterday, why not put yourself at the wheel and create your own inner peace?
© Hayley Kamis, MA, RM/T, IARP, CCC-SLP