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Imagination Helps Kids Ease Pain

It appears that guided imagery can reduce post-operative pain and anxiety in children, study findings suggest. Their study was designed to test the effectiveness of a professionally developed program, "To Tame the Hurting Thing," comprised of booklets, videotapes and audiotapes. The videotape, given to patients during the three weeks before surgery, taught deep breathing and imagery techniques, while the audiotape included deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, music, and suggestions for picturing a favorite place.

Children in the program group reported significantly less pain and anxiety after listening to the audiotape immediately after surgery. There was a similar effect at home. This is clearly an example of how powerfully the mind can work to overcome pain and likely speed healing.

Pain July 2004;110(1-2):439-48

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