In Imagery in Healing, Jeanne Achterberg brings together modern scientific research and the practices of the earliest healers to support her claim that imagery is. 1 quote from Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine: ‘Throughout the history of medicine, including the shamanic healing traditions, the Greek. Read “Imagery in Healing Shamanism and Modern Medicine” by Jeanne Achterberg with Rakuten Kobo. This influential book shows how the systematic use of.

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Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine – Jeanne Achterberg – Google Books

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This influential book shows how the systematic use of mental imagery can have a positive influence on the course of disease and can help patients to cope with pain.

In Imagery in Healing, Jeanne Achterberg brings together modern scientific research and the practices of the earliest healers to support her claim that imagery is the world’s oldest and most powerful healing r This influential book shows how the systematic use of mental imagery can have a positive influence on the imageery of disease and can help patients to cope with pain. In Imagery in Healing, Jeanne Achterberg brings together modern scientific research and the practices of the earliest healers to support her claim that imagery is the world’s oldest and most powerful healing resource.

Achtrberg book has become a classic in heaaling field of alternative medicine and continues to be read by new generations of health care professionals and lay people. In Imagery in Healing, Achterberg explores in detail the role of the imagination in the healing process.

She begins with an exploration of the tradition of shamanism, “the medicine of the imagination,” surveying this time-honored way of touching the nexus of the mind, body, and soul. She then traces the history of the use of imagery within Western medicine, including a look at contemporary examples of how health care professionals have drawn on the power of the imagination through such methods as hypnosis, biofeedback, and the placebo effect.

Ultimately, Achterberg looks to the science of immunology to uncover the most effective ground for visualization, and she presents data demonstrating how imagery can have a direct and profound impact on the workings of the immune system.

Drawing on art, science, history, anthropology, and medicine, Imagery in Healing offers a highly readable overview of the profound and complex relationship between the imagination and the body.

Paperbackpages. Published January 15th by Shambhala first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Imagery in Healingplease sign up. Lists with This Book. There is little argument about the negative power of imagination on health What has not often been proposed jenane modern times is that the reverse must also be true.

Asclepius, Aristotle, Galen, and Hippocrates, regarded as the fathers of medicine, used imagery for both diagnosis and therapy. In each instance of history, the gifts of the imagination took primacy over pharmacy and surgery, and those who were skilled at wielding the powers of the image were awarded t Wild and wonderful. In each instance of history, the gifts of the imagination took primacy over pharmacy and surgery, and those who were skilled at wielding the powers of the image were awarded the greatest stature in the healing hierarchy.

The scientific age brought this acclaim to a screeching halt. The healing techniques of the shaman have always existed side-by-side with a medicine of a more mechanical or technological nature. A good shaman, noting that the patient had an arrow sticking out between his shoulder blades, would not likely have ordered up an altered state of consciousness at least until the intrusion was removed, available medicines were applied to staunch the bleeding, and hesling used to halt infection and pain.

Typically in shamanic cultures, a healing hierarchy exists, with those whose singular talent rests in physical manipulation or prescription at the bottom, followed by specialists in diagnosis, and then crowned by the shamans and their use of the imagination to ikagery with the supernatural. According to an Eskimo shaman, “Every real shaman has to feel an illumination in his body, in the inside of his head or in his brain, something that gleams like fire, that gives him the power to see with closed eyes into the darkness, into the hidden things or into the future, or into the secrets of another man.


The advanced [Tibetan] yogins are said to be able to produce psychic heat that renders them impervious to temperature extremes, even to long-term exposure to snow while wrapped only in sheets dipped in icy water It is said that, as a result of practicing these exercises over a long period of time, the yogin has the ability to learn ikagery past, present, and future events. Typically, the shamans fast before doing difficult work.

The fast may include dispensing with food, or salt, or even water.

Other deprivations include going without sleep for several nights, which may imagerh anyway in the process of a lengthy ritual. Abstinence from sex is universally used to alter the realms of consciousness. This vital life energy is redirected toward healing, or to produce states of bliss as in the Eastern practice of kundalini.

Jeanne Achterberg, PhD. Imagery, ceremony, and healing rituals. Interview by Bonnie Horrigan.

The novice Jivaro shaman, for instance, must abstain from sex for at least five months to gain enough power to cure, and for a whole year in order to become really effective.

Body is mind, and mind is spirit Self is stone, and the stone is the universe. Aristotle believed that the emotional system did not function in the absence of images.

Prodicus made a statement in the fifth century, B. The women were accused of causing all the ills of Europe, England, and America. It seems that one could readily distinguish God’s cures from the devil’s, because God worked through the priests and the doctors rather than through the women.

When the world view changed to incorporate the Cartesian model of dualism—the separation of the functions of mind from the stuff of the body—the holistic approach became logically inconsistent Now implicit permission was given to dissect, bisect, examine, and otherwise invade the human body without fear of damage to the soul.

Is the natural course of disease different when there’s an absence of fear and no images of death? If people are dying from the diagnosis of the disease and not the disease itself, should they be kept in the dark regarding the condition of their health? It’s not what the patients are told that is so critical to health, it is how they’re told, how they are assisted in dealing with the diagnosis, and obviously how they choose to receive the message within the context of their own belief system.

Images are also created by statistics Patients nearly always ask, when given a diagnosis of severe disease, “How long do I have? But secondly, answers need to be carefully couched to reflect the truth. In my experience, patients tend to comply quite well with their personal sentence. The tragedy is that a range around the median is an absolutely incorrect picture. The statistics that get reported are often collected from charity patients who subject themselves to studies in order to get free medical care.

Poor people with cancer simply don’t live as long as the well-to-do, and the statistics are therefore skewed.

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Furthermore, using the range around the average is only part of the description of the course of the disease. The placebo effect comes about because of the imagination; but it isn’t synonymous Every thought is accompanied by electrochemical change; that’s what thinking is The magic is clearly not in the sugar pill or in the water injection, but rather in the belief attached to them.

Placebo treatment works for problems other than pain Even repair of injured tissues has been encouraged with the use of placebo. Producing convincing research on the efficacy of using imagery in the general practice of medicine has remained an unmet challenge.

First of all, physicians are rarely trained as researchers the Ph. Furthermore, physicians who are interested in the applications of imagery to clinical practice are busy treating patients, and rarely have either the funds or inclination to pursue research. Government or private foundation money, which would allow physicians to devote time and energy to such study, has never been available.

One of the biggest impediments to understanding the effect of the imagination, in and of itself, is that when imagery is used in general practice, it is rarely employed in isolation from other types of medicine, or even from other nonsurgical, nondrug therapies such as biofeedback.


Some of Samuels’ general suggestions for healing imagery involve “erasing bacteria or viruses, building new cells to replace damaged ones, making rough areas smooth, making hot areas cool, making sore areas comfortable, making tense areas relax, draining swollen areas, releasing pressure from tight areas, bringing blood to areas that need nutriment or cleansing, making dry areas moist or moist areas drybringing energy to areas that seem tired.

Biofeedback requires the persistent involvement of highly motivated persons, who are able and willing to spend time and effort on their own health Those individuals who were unable to fantasize, who seldom remembered their dreams, and who were not regarded as particularly creative, had the most difficulty in learning the biofeedback response.

Sometimes the first clue that a disease is going away comes in a dream, or in a state of reverie. A kind of “knowing” is described that accompanies a successful treatment and I am using the word treatment here to include nonmedical procedures such as religious experience, vitamins, exercise, and meditation.

The treatment is often said to lead to a sense of calm and diffused warmth and comfort as the disease is released. People describe being filled with white light, or of seeing an incandescent globe hover over their bodies right before they have the sense of being healed.

Patients who recover quickly from surgery often talk about having done significant mental work while lying in bed, assisting the healing process with their imaginations. Karl Pribram has proposed that the brain operates like a hologram. Essentially, a hologram is a specially processed photographic record that provides a three-dimensional image when a laser is beamed through it. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that, should it break, any part of the hologram is capable of reconstructing the total image, but with reduced clarity.

Like the holograph, the brain also stores information redundantly. Each part of the brain has some data on every other part.

A shattered piece of the holographic picture can recreate the whole image; the brain areas left intact after damage have the potential for functioning like the missing parts The holographic model, as proposed by Pribram, does not contradict the traditional neuroanatomic description of the brain.

People don’t have much ability to establish healing patterns once they’re diagnosed with serious illness. If they don’t believe in anything besides modern medicine, when that fails there is nothing else stored in the brain that has been rehearsed sufficiently enough, in the context of health, to effect physical change.

Through many complex and varied processes, then, the filters that normally prevent direct mental access to the physical body can be lifted. Most of the ways have in common a means of either removing, or significantly altering, or even competing with, the demands the external environment makes on the brain. Torrey cites several characteristic factors that serve to engender trust in healers of all types: The esteem of the patient is increased by merely being in the presence of and receiving the undivided attention of such an impressive, important person All of these peculiarities tend to heighten his influence, and, by rendering his appearance impressive and suggestive of superiority, serve to increase his control over the people.

Distinctive behavioral changes have been noted in several species when they were confronted with a situation over which they had no control.

achterbeg The changes could be anthropomorphically described as “giving up,” and are accompanied by evidence of physical deterioration. Helplessness in humans is normally associated with severe depression, apathy, and loss of energy, even before the clinical manifestation of disease The purveyors of hope, in this context, are offering a healing commodity. The shamans, many of them, had come face to face with death before their vocation became apparent. No doubt their credibility was in part a function of some immunity gained through their illness.

A physical therapist told me of a time in her life when she was about to finish her master’s degree and was suffering from massive uterine hemorrage.