Guided imagery and other stress reducers

guided imageryThe holiday season is upon us, so much to do, so little time! Do you find yourself wishing for a way to slow down and relax that doesn’t cost anything and that you can do anytime, anywhere, without anyone knowing what you are doing? Well, there is a way, and that way is called guided imagery. Guided imagery has been around for centuries, and is both a spiritual, emotional and chemical reaction or an event that will occur naturally in our body – if we know and practice certain specific techniques.

Every day we are bombarded with so much stimuli that our brains get overloaded and our stress meter rises. These chemical reactions occur without thought and can cause elevated blood pressure, headaches, stomach upset, fear and anxiety to name a few. Cancer patients especially deal with these types of stresses everyday.

“If only sugar plums were the only visions that dance through our heads as the holidays approach,” says Claire Casselman, a trained social worker who provides guided imagery in the Complimentary Therapies Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Guided imagery helps to reduce anxiety, pain and fatigue. I think that all of us could use this resource on a daily basis. The techniques taught are simple. Claire often provides a personalized CD for her patients to listen to whenever they want. It is effective in many circumstances, but especially at this time of year, when it seems that we could all use a place in our minds to go to and RELAX!

The U-M Cancer Center has a Complimentary Therapies Program and related resources. Many are available for all to use via the Internet. Some of these resources include:

  • Art Therapy
  • Families Facing Cancer
  • Guided Imagery
  • Music Therapy
  • Video Library

Have you found other techniques that help you relax? Pleas feel free to leave a comment so others may benefit from your tips.

Continue reading about reducing stress and guided imagery:

Still have questions? Call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.

vanessa thumbnailThe Cancer AnswerLine™ nurses are experienced in oncology care, including helping patients and their families who have questions about cancer. These registered oncology nurses are available by calling 800-865-1125 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Your call is always free and confidential.



University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.