“Guided imagery is a mind-body intervention by which a trained practitioner or teacher helps a participant or patient to evoke and generate mental images that simulate or re-create the sensory perception of sights,sounds, tastes, smells, movements, and images associated with touch, such as texture, temperature, and pressure, as well as imaginative or mental content that the participant or patient experiences as defying conventional sensory categories,and that may precipitate strong emotions or feelings in the absence of the stimuli to which correlating sensory receptors are receptive.
The practitioner or teacher may facilitate this process in person to an individual or a group. Alternatively, the participant or patient may follow guidance provided by a sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising spoken instruction that may be accompanied by music or sound.
The United States National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is among twenty-seven organizations that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), classifies guided imagery and guided meditation, as mind–body interventions, one of five domains of medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine.
The NCCIH defines mind-body interventions as those practices that “employ a variety of techniques designed to facilitate the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms”, and include guided imagery, guided meditation and forms of meditative praxis, hypnosis and hypnotherapy, prayer, as well as art therapy, music therapy, and dance therapy.”
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