Episode #8 Exploring Guided Imagery with Belleruth Naparstek

Body of Wonder Podcast Your mind is powerful. Thoughts that initiate in your mind not only impact your emotional well-being, but actually send signals that influence your body's physical reality. In this episode we learn about a gentle and inexpensive mind-body technique called guided imagery that is being used in healthcare to improve patient outcomes. Guided imagery is an easy to use multi-sensory relaxation-based practice that utilizes guided affirmations and soothing music to evoke images in the mind that are experienced by the body. Our guest on this episode is guided imagery pioneer, Belleruth Naparstek. She is a social worker and the author of Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal. An early advocate for mind-body treatments in clinical care, she draws from years of helping individuals manage trauma, mental illness, and physical pain. Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes discuss the benefits of guided imagery and how this inexpensive treatment also empowers patients to take an active role in their own healing process. Research shows that practicing guided imagery has both physiological and psychological responses, including reducing healing time after injuries and surgery, boosting short-term immunity, and increasing mental well-being. Some of the largest and most prominent healthcare insurers in the U.S have even added guided imagery to their plans because it has proven to reduce treatment costs and to increase positive health outcomes for patients. The episode ends with a 4-minute practice for those listeners who are interested in experiencing guided imagery.

Please note, the show will not advise, diagnose, or treat medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider for questions regarding your health.

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Andrew Weil, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD


Belleruth Naparstek , ACSW

Clinical social worker and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of over 80 guided imagery audio programs targeted to address a variety of health and mental health concerns, and founder of Health Journeys Inc, a leading producer, and distributor of mind-body programs that deliver direct healing and wellness experiences, at the screen or on a listening device.
Her first book, Staying Well with Guided Imagery is a widely use d primer Her second book, Your Sixth Sense, has been translated into 9 languages. Her book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal, won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award. In their 20th anniversary edition of their seminal book, Courage to Heal, Ellen Bass and Laura Davis call Invisible Heroes, “the most useful book for trauma survivors to be published in the last decade”.
As Prevention Magazine has noted, Belleruth has been quietly creating an underground revolution among mainstream health and mental health bureaucracies, by persuading major institutions such as the U.S. Army, the Veteran’s Health Administration, The American Red Cross, Aetna U.S. Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California, nearly 2000 hospitals, mental health centers, recovery clinics and vet centers to distribute her guided imagery recordings, in most instances free of charge to recipients.
In addition, her recordings have been involved in over two-dozen clinical trials, with nearly a dozen studies completed to date. Efficacy has been established for several psychological and medical challenges, including surgery outcomes, smoking cessation, pain and posttraumatic stress.
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