What is Visualisation?

What to expect when you visit a therapist

A brief History of Visualisation

This document provides general information on what to expect when you visit a therapist, as well as explaining briefly how their discipline works. It must be noted, however, that every practitioner works in an individual way, and may subscribe to slightly different theories as to how their practice is carried out. It is always advisable that you ask to see relevant qualifications and discuss the treatment offered to you by the practitioner if you are in any doubt whatsoever.

What is Visualisation?

Visualisation is often used in conjunction with relaxation and although the two are different they do work very well together. People are often able to visualise more effectively when relaxed and conversely when stressed, visualisation can bring about feelings of deep relaxation.

Visualisation is not only used to help people relax - it also helps people achieve their true potential or overcome emotional and physical difficulties. It is not clear how it actually works, but theory has it that these techniques are believed to encourage activity in the right hemisphere of the brain, the part that deals with emotions and creativity.

It is the left hemisphere of the brain that deals with logic, analysis, word ability and reason - basically everyday life (and we know how stressful everyday life can be!) By using the right-hand side of brain we diminish the activity of the left side and this in turn brings about a feeling of relaxation.

The autonomic nervous system, the system which is beyond our conscious control, has two branches, the parasympathetic branch, which brings about relaxation, and the sympathetic branch, the one which gears us up for action, the "fight or flight" response.

Through relaxation and visualisation, the parasympathetic branch becomes more dominant. As a result the heart rate slows down, muscles relax, breathing becomes more regular and the digestive system begins to work more efficiently - in fact it is the exact opposite of what happens when you are stressed out or in panic mode. The bodies own healing energies are more able to work on problem areas when it is in a relaxed state.

Main uses :

People who are aiming for success (e.g. sports people, actors or students taking exams) often practise visualisation. Those who suffer with panic attacks and other stress related conditions such as phobias and anxieties can also benefit, as can cancer patients, people who need pain relief and those who suffer with heart conditions.

Click here to find out what to expect when you visit a therapist.

Click here to find a qualified practitioner.

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