Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Parkinson's Disease and Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a relaxation technique that uses positive mental images to influence how you feel. It can enhance your traditional Parkinson's treatment. But it does not replace traditional treatment.

Guided imagery is an ancient practice that includes simple visualization. It is a safe and simple technique. Almost anyone can do it.

Recommended Related to Parkinson's

Parkinson's Disease

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Parkinson's Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Parkinson's Disease article > >

Guided imagery focuses on images. But this type of imagery helps you harness all your senses -- sight, taste, sound, smell, and sensation. This helps you connect to your inner resources for improving health.

With guided imagery, you use your imagination to create relaxing or positive images and experiences. Your body interprets these as real. So this can also have a very real impact on your physical health.

How do you do guided imagery?

You can do guided imagery in the comfort of your home. Or, to get started, you can see a professional who is certified in performing guided imagery.

A practitioner may encourage you to first try to release tension. To start, it can help to focus on your breathing and heart rate.

Next, imagine a relaxing, safe, happy, or peaceful place. For example, you might imagine a warm beach or a quiet forest. This all causes your body to release calming chemicals.

You can create your own images or listen to imagery created for you. Or you can buy CDs or download guided visualizations from the Internet. It may help to listen to a sample of a recording first to see if the person's voice has a calming effect on you.

Whether you create your own images or another person coaches you, soon you will intuitively learn which images are most helpful to you.

What are the benefits of guided imagery for Parkinson's?

Guided imagery has many proven benefits. For example, it can create effects in your body related to lowered stress. This includes:

  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduced levels of stress hormones (cortisol)
  • Less pain

There is often a link between Parkinson's and stress, depression, and anxiety, which can also worsen its symptoms. Guided imagery might help to:

  • Create a relaxation response that counteracts the stress response
  • Relieve worry, tension, and physical discomfort
  • Improve sleep
  • Restore a sense of calm, control, and motivation

Although research is limited, researchers have shown that guided imagery can help with symptoms such as tremor. In a small study, Israeli researchers compared improvements gained by relaxation guided imagery (RGI) and relaxing music in 20 patients with moderate to severe tremor.

The technique greatly decreased tremor in all 20 patients. In 15 patients, tremor stopped completely for up to 13 minutes and remained reduced 30 minutes after the patients stopped the technique. Some improvement lasted for up to 14 hours. Relaxing music also helped, but was not as effective as guided imagery.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 26, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Slideshow
Parkinsons Disease Symptoms
Article
 
Preventing Falls
Article
caregiver
Article
 
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Article
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Article
 
Eating Right
Article
Parkinsons Exercise
Article
 
Early Parkinsons Surgery
VIDEO
Pets Improve Your Health
SLIDESHOW
 
Parkinsons Daily
Article
Parkinsons Dance
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections