Guided Imagery: Two Archival Studies

In 2002 , Oregon Health and Science University conducted a study of 25 women with stage I and II breast cancer. During the study they were led through an individual hypnotic – guided imagery sessions. During the first session, the women were taped while they were asked to imagine protective immune system cells also know as natural killer cells. The women then would use the tapes to practice at home 3 times per week for 8 weeks.

The purpose of this study was to measure the woman’s immune function and emotional state 3 different times. Once in the beginning of the program, another at the 8 week part and then again 3 months after the program ended. Once the program had ended, the results found that the women who participated had experienced less depression and higher natural killer cells counts. The count of natural killer cells was higher but the activity wasn’t much more active than in the beginning.

A British study, published in 1999, found that women suffering from breast cancer and using guided imagery as a support factor were more relaxed and experienced better quality of life. A Korean study that was published in 2005, also released evidence that guided imagery helped patients overcome stress, depression and irritability. 6 months after training, the participants who participated were still experiencing a better quality of life than the group that didn’t receive any training at all.

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