Clinical Research on Imagery and its effects on Health


In the 20th century, many psychotherapeutic techniques have emerged that have incorporated imagery as a psychotherapeutic tool. Just to name a few, are: “Active Imagination” by Dr. Carl Jung, “Guided Waking Dream” by Dr. Robert Desoille and “Guided Affective Imagery” by Dr. Hanscarl Leuner.

Towards the end of the 20th century, radiotherapy oncologist Dr. Carl Simonton and his wife, psychologist, Stephanie Simonton, presented clinical trials that showed the increased survival of cancer patients who practiced metal imagery to improve their immune system.

The implementation of imagery has been extended to a wider number of diseases in clinical trials performed by Irving Oyle D.O.

He adapted the “Inner Advisor” method in his clinical practice, as well as by Martin Rossman, M.D. and David Bresler, Ph.D., who introduced the implementation of “Interactive Guided Imagery”. In fact, in his book “Guided Imagery for Self-Healing,” Dr. Martin Rossman states, “The evidence is so strong that if imagery was a drug, physicians would prescribe imagery to improve the immune system without the fear of side effects.” (Rossman 2000, p. 227).

Many other clinical trials and empirical studies have been carried out, but I will end with two significant and recent ones by Assistant Professor Ulas Kaplan of James Madison University and Dr. Gerald Epstein, MD, psychiatrist and founder of the American Institute for Mental Imagery.

In 2012 they studied the application of imagery to monitor heart rate variability. Results showed that the application of imagery significantly increased the rate of heart coherence. (Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Vol. 31 (4) 297-312, 2011-2012 ).

They conducted another study in 2014 with the purpose of presenting a qualitative approach to changes in daily well-being, as a function of imagery practice. Results of the imagery group far surpassed results obtained from the other two groups, affirmations coming in a distant second, while the group doing nothing other than ordinary thinking showed no effect at all. An additional discovery was that levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, were reduced during the imagery process, but this was not the case for the affirmation or thinking groups. (Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Vol. 34(1) 73-96, 2014-2015).

The nature of Imagery is both diagnostic in the sense that images reflect the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our existence that call for exploration and healing, as well as therapeutic in that it reveals a live treasure of therapeutic symbols which comprise the key to our transformation. All that is needed is to be trained in understanding the language of Imagery and the messages it conveys.

© Content may be republished only under certain terms and conditions. Read them here.

Helping You Grow Your Faith in Your Self and Your Autonomy

Be the Self-Luminous Being You Were Designed to Be
get in touch

Demetra Monocrusso

Professional Coach and Mental Imagery Clinician

All services provided by Demetra Monocrusso are in alignment and in accordance with the wholistic model of health taught by the American Institute for Mental Imagery of New York which is chartered by the New York State Regents to train clinicians in the GEMS integrative healing system.

They have been personally endorsed and approved by the founder and director of the institute Dr. Gerald N. Epstein, MD, an internationally renowned psychiatrist and one of the foremost practitioners of integrative healthcare for healing and transformation.

Copyright 2021-2022 | Demetra Monocrusso | All Rights Reserved


Demetra is not a medical professional and none of her advice should ever be taken in the place of medical advice. The information provided is purely for educational purposes. Individuals must use their own discretion, judgment and commonsense at all times and should not break any local, national or international laws. Under no circumstances will Demetra be held liable or responsible for any direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, special or consequential damages arising out of the use of, or inability to use, the information he shares. If you have a medical condition or health concern, always consult your doctor.