RESEARCH STUDY WITH ASTHMATICS DEMONSTRATES POWERFUL RESULTS Canadian Pharmacy
The importance and potency of imagery as a technique for alleviating asthma was demonstrated in a research study funded by the Office of Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The study compared an asthma control group using no imagery with the asthma patients who did use imagery. It demonstrated that 47 percent of the asthmatics in the imagery group significantly decreased or discontinued medication without compromising pulmonary function. None reported side effects; these statistics signaled that the imagery had a substantial positive result. The corresponding figure for the control group, however, was just 18 percent, and here patients were able only to decrease, not discontinue, medication. Patients also reported that using the imagery technique led them to new insights and feelings regarding the possibility of freedom, happiness, and health. Through the practice of imagery they realized that the mind is powerful and can change all aspects of life, not just asthma.^ The following statements by participants in the study express these feelings clearly:
“I was able to direct my attention inward … and tap into inner resources, talents, and strengths that were dormant and unused due to fear, anxiety, and low self-esteem.”
“I experienced a personal crisis…. Imagery relieved my stress and centered me. Somehow the crisis lessened and I was left with a sense of hope.”
“Imagery has given me a tool … the ability to participate in my own therapy from within — it has opened new doors and awarenesses.”
Overall, when used consistently by the participants in this study, imagery promoted feelings of safety, security, and powerfulness.
AN ANCIENT FORM OF MEDICINE RETURNS TO FAVOR
The practice of imagery is simple and direct. It offers you a form of mind medicine that affects the body-mind and creates a bridge to spirit. In many cultures, the imagination has been a primary healing tool for hundreds, even thousands, of years. Beginning in ancient Egypt, it was the medical treatment of choice. Preverbal and universal, imagery was the first language; therefore, it was the first mode of communication, as evidenced by the hieroglyphs on the Egyptian pyramids where pictorial symbols were used to represent meanings or sounds. Considered essential for healing both physical and mental problems, imagery continued to be widely practiced until the mid-seventeenth century by physicians with their patients and by many who chose to use it as a personal therapy. It was then that Descartes’s dualistic theory of the mind as separate from the body gained dominion in Western thought. From this point on mind medicine, of which imagery had always been a part, fell into disrepute. Yet, even during these past three hundred years, while allopathic medicine and physical science have gained tremendous favor and dominance, mental imagery (or what is sometimes called visualization) was still used by many who never forgot its power. Health and Care Pharmacy.