A picture is worth a thousand words.
We have heard that saying before. This phrase is certainly true in the case of visualization. Visualization, a form of self-hypnosis, is a tool anyone can use to help foster healing. By providing positive pictures (creative imagery) and self-suggestion, visualization can change emotions that subsequently have a physical effect on the body.
Our belief system is based upon the accumulation of verbal and non-verbal suggestions that have been gathered throughout our life experience. Through patterns of repetition and its associated rewards and punishment we learn to create our own perception of reality. In essence, we therefore become what we think. In healing, repetitive use of positive visualization allows access to the mind-body connection. This lets the mind and body work together to foster the healing process of the body on a physical level.
What is the mind-body connection and how does it work? When we have an emotion it generates a feeling that turns into a physical sensation. For example: You are watching a horror movie, you feel frightened and then get a chill up your spine. In this case you were getting a negative suggestion through your sensory perception (sight and sound), that produced an emotion of fear which turned into the physical sensation of chills up your spine. Visualization uses positive images to produce positive emotions that manifest into positive physical sensations in the body.
Sounds simple, but does it work? Can what we think actually have an effect on healing? Bodies do react to the thoughts you make. Our psychological/emotional state affects the endocrine system. For example, the emotion of fear is related to adrenaline. If no feeling of fear exists there is no adrenaline and the same applies in reverse- no adrenaline, no fear. They work in relationship to each other. Wherever a thought goes there is a body chemical reaction.
The hypothalamus, the emotional center of the brain, transforms emotions into physical response. The receptor of neuropeptides, the hypothalamus also controls the bodyís appetite, blood sugar levels, body temperature, adrenal and pituitary glands, heart, lung, digestive and circulatory systems. Neuropeptides, the chemical messenger hormones, carry emotions back and forth between the mind and body. They link perception in the brain to the body via organs, hormones and cellular activity. Neuropeptides influence every major section of the immune system, so the body and mind do work together as one unit.
The brain is a highly efficient system that is connected to every cell in your body by billions of connections. It is divided into two sides ñ the left, logical side (words, logic, rational thought) and the right creative side (imagination and intuition). Day to day circumstances usually are met in a logical, left brain mode; however by yielding to the right, creative side of the brain we actually restore balance in the brain. This allows access to the mind-body connection to achieve what you want. The right side of the brain automatically steers you to your goal. It totally accepts what you want to accomplish without giving an opinion and acts upon it without judgement. That is why visualization targets the right, creative side of the brain and not the left, logical side.
Positive thought is essential to producing positive results. Negative thoughts and emotions lower the immune system, while positive thought and emotions actually boost the immune system. To maximize success of visualization as a support to the healing process, the following suggestions are offered: