Guided imagery
Guided imagery


Guided imagery is a practice that uses directed thoughts and visualizations to improve relaxation, improve problem solving, and enhance healing.

Guided imagery intends to help people feel in control of their situation, resulting in improved emotions and attitudes. For example, cancer patients might envision the body's defense systems fighting and destroying cancer cells.

People use guided imagery for reducing stress and pain after surgery. It is also used for anxiety, osteoarthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse guided imagery with relaxation therapy. These are sometimes used together but are not the same.
Guided imagery is likely safe. There are no known safety concerns.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if guided imagery is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. But there's no known reason to expect safety concerns.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
  • Pain after surgery. Guided imagery might somewhat reduce pain after surgery. But it's not clear which types of guided imagery work best.
  • Stress. Guided imagery, alone or together with relaxation training, seems to help reduce stress in people undergoing stressful situations, such as cancer treatment or hospitalization.
There is interest in using guided imagery for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

Guided imagery is the use of guided or directed thoughts and visualizations to deepen relaxation and to visualize solutions to problems or disease fighting processes. It's often used with other techniques such as relaxation therapy to help reduce stress in stressful situations. The visualization process can be guided by an instructor or by pre-recorded tapes. Talk to your physician or other healthcare professional to learn more about how guided imagery is used for specific conditions.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods. has licensed monographs from TRC Healthcare.
This monograph was last reviewed on 16/12/2021 00:50:42 and last updated on 10/06/2015 03:13:59. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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