Guided Imagery & Relaxation for Surgery
MP3 Files and Transcripts
Guided imagery is the process of focusing the mind, accessing intuition, exploring emotions and deepening inner awareness. Research has indicated that guided imagery can reduce anxiety, decrease pain and shorten the length of hospital stays. Studies have also shown that patients who are calm and relaxed recover more quickly from surgery.
We are providing downloadable MP3 files and transcripts of guided imagery for surgery preparation and recovery with Leslie Davenport, MS, MFT. Leslie founded the guided imagery program at the Institute for Health & Healing, and was an early pioneer in the use of imagery as a therapeutic approach for patients. These sessions are designed to evoke images supportive of surgery. Please note: Guided imagery is a therapeutic tool - not a substitute for medical treatment. Do not listen while driving or operating machinery.
Surgery Preparation | Surgery Recovery
Downloadable MP3 file:
Surgery Preparation [MP3] (12 min)
Transcript for Surgery Preparation: You are invited to use this time to actively participate in your own healing. You can join your healing intention with the medicine and procedures designed to support your body’s health and healing. Research has consistently shown that by engaging in your own care, by practicing relaxation and guided imagery, there can be a decrease in pain and side effects, and a shortened recovery time. So find a comfortable, quiet place to begin this valuable practice in preparation for your surgery or procedure.
As you breathe in, imagine and feel the fresh vitality that the oxygen brings to your body, and the clarity it brings to your mind. When you breathe out, find the natural releasing, letting go quality of the exhalation that dissolves tension and discomfort. Let there be an easy rhythm, a gentle breath…. A cleansing breath in, a relaxing breath out. Imagine and feel that relaxation and fresh energy flowing across your forehead, down into your arms and legs, moving deeply and gently though your torso. With every breath, there is a deepening sense of peacefulness, through awareness and with relaxation.
In the same way your breath and awareness have relaxed your body, feel the breath moving through your mind like a gentle breeze, clearing away any unwelcome or distracting thoughts. For a moment, sense the spaciousness, and clarity of your mind. Feel your breath bringing a settling in your emotions, wherever you sense that part of yourself. Feel and image your breath connecting to your essence, your spirit, your life force, the deepest sense of yourself. Welcome all the levels and dimensions of who you are into this experience.
Now imagine an environment, a place where these calm and relaxed qualities are supported, even enhanced; a place where you feel safe, comfortable, where you can be completely yourself. It may be indoor, outdoor, familiar or even imaginary. Enjoy the colors here; are they bold or pastel… and the textures. Let your ears take in the sounds, or the particular quality of silence, that are pleasing in this beautiful place. Notice the scents in the air, the sensations on your skin. What time of day does it seems to be… and the season. And find a place to sit, or recline where you can most enjoy the beauty and qualities of this healing place. And if there is anything you want to modify, to strengthen this peaceful experience, make those adjustments now.
As you relax in this healing environment, let your awareness begin to gently expand, sensing all of those with whom you share a loving connection. It may include family members, friends, people from your past, the sense of a spiritual presence, inner guides, pets; any being that holds compassionate, positive regard for you. Sense how their genuine wishes for your well-being surround you, feeling a gentle and strong, glowing support. Let this circle of support and the peaceful quality of this environment, travel with you, as you let your awareness carry you forward… moving into the near future, to the time of your upcoming surgery or procedure.
Notice a relaxed curiosity, as you now become an observer, seeing yourself reclining in the clean, carefully prepared hospital room. Feel in the room the circle of loving connections that has traveled with you here. And with you in this room, is an experienced, confident, trustworthy medical team ready to offer you the best care for the healing you seek. Sense their skilled minds, and caring hands.
Watch as you are safely guided into pain-reducing anesthesia, while your body uses it’s inherent intelligence to participate, allowing the areas of focus to be accessible. Allow your body to cooperate in whatever way is needed. Sense the capable progress of the medical team, and the loving support from your healing circle. Like a beautifully choreographed dance, your inherent healing wisdom, joins with the circle of support and the care-giving team, creating a cohesive and complete healing force.
As the procedure comes to completion, there is a pleasing sense of satisfaction in the room. Your body also senses the shift to recovery, now sending nourishment to the healing site.
Immediately, strong new cells are called forth, weaving together bone or tissues. Cleansing cells carry away any debris, gently clearing it out of the body. You are now wheeled to a nearby room, continuing with the watchful care of the staff. Soon you begin to gently awaken, feeling comfortable and at ease, still surrounded by your loving circle of support.
Feeling the powerful journey you have taken, begin to let these images fade, and find yourself again in the peaceful environment where you began this valuable experience. Take in again the beauty, the pleasing sounds and qualities. Take a few breaths, and acknowledge the important healing work you have done.
Finding a closure for now, begin to sense the area around you. Know that the benefits of this time stay with you, even as you turn your attention to other things. You can return to this healing practice as often as you wish, deepening the work you have already done.
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Downloadble MP3 file:
Surgery Recovery [MP3] (10 min)
Transcript for Surgery Recovery: Take a moment to make yourself as comfortable as possible. You may want to rest your eyes as you settle in. This time is for you, to support and participate in your own healing process. Know that this moment in time has never been experienced before, and it arises freshly. As you recognize this, notice how clear and spacious it can feel. If you find that any thoughts about the past, or the future enter into your mind, recognize that you can acknowledge them, but then let them go for now, returning to the clear and open moment as it arises. You can repeat that as often as you’d like.
Let yourself recognize that you can be both deeply relaxed and attentive. As your relaxation deepens, notice the kind of awareness that allows you to easily sense the subtle workings of your body, and to feel and imagine your healing energy already at work.
Now, allow an image to arise for a healing environment. It may be very familiar or new; indoor or outdoor; it can even be an imaginary place. Let it come to you, and notice the safe, beautiful aspects. Take in the colors, sounds, textures, aromas, and qualities of this place. Find a way of being here that allows you to enjoy this beautiful environment in the most complete way. As you feel the healing qualities of this place, breathe them into you. Feel those qualities above you, below you, beside you, around you, and within you. If the atmosphere of this place had a voice, or some way of expressing itself to you, notice the healing message it wants you to know right now.
As you inhale, feel the healing energy from around and within you gathering together into a glowing ball of light. Identify the colors, temperature, and qualities of these glowing, powerful rays of light. Breathe into it, until it amplifies to the size and intensity that feels right for now. With your breath, gently direct it to the parts of your body recovering from the recent surgery or procedure. Imagine the light illuminating the area for you to see, or sense, the healing that is occurring. A relaxed breath in, gathering the healing energy… a relaxed breath out sending it through your body. And imagine the healing energy fueling the incredible mending that your entire being is already engaged in. Feel the nourishment; feel the strength. You can add any images of healing that arise, that feel right to this stage of recovery. When the healing session feels complete for now, allow that vital ball of energy to spread throughout your body, infusing your entire being, body, mind, emotions, and spirit, with a vibrant and calm glow.
Now, imagine yourself a short time into your future, perhaps a month, and sense the incredible healing process that has occurred. Notice the way your energy is becoming restored, and the strength and mobility that are returning. Progress a bit more, perhaps three months, and feel the range of familiar and enjoyable activities continuing to return. Continue on, perhaps 6 months…. a year: imaging yourself strong, vital, engaged in life, joyful. As you picture or sense these healthy scenes, imagine your mind and emotions directing your muscles, bones, nerves, like a blueprint for healing in the direction of it’s recovery.
Review the images and experiences that feel important and valuable from this practice, and notice again the way to recognize the feeling of them in your body, mind, and emotions. Let the recognition of this healthy focus imprint itself so that it’s easy to access, easy to remember, and becomes a part of you.
Take a few gentle breaths, acknowledging the significant way you have engaged the healing process. Sense how your have aligned the intention of your body, mind, emotions, spirit with the goal of healing, creating a cohesive and powerful force for recovery. Know that although you will soon shift your attention to other things, that the healing work continues. It’s similar to the nutrition that is active, even when a meal has ended.
So whether it’s time to slip into a restful sleep, or rise up to meet the activities of the day, begin now to make a gentle transition, and know that you can return anytime you wish to this healing practice.
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