In 1975 while I was in medical school at UCLA, I was privy to hear one of the more important lectures of my career. Bernie Siegel, M.D. presented a guest lecture on the topic of “curing cancer using deep visualization & mind imaging.” He taught that by converting thoughts to images, one could cause body biochemistry to change.
His metaphor was to visualize an attack by alien spaceships as cancer cells, then the cancer victim would shoot them down with laser rays from the ground before they landed. In a clinical study published earlier, he proved a significant reduction of cancer in those who used the technique.
The study led to the publishing of his book in 1986 on the subject “Love, Medicine and Miracles.” This book was a New York Times best seller for many years.
At his invitation, I studied with Dr. Siegel and learned his technique. I use it in my work with people who have spinal cord injuries. This concept combined with my training in hypnotherapy and neuro linguistic programming has allowed me to produce an amplified version of Dr. Siegel’s work, which I call “regenerative visualization”.
The purpose of “regenerative visualization” is to train the person with the spinal cord injury to intentionally produce brain signals using visualization of activities, sports, or any form of movement, (which can be seen using fMRI) and send them to the nerves which power the now non-functioning muscles.
I have found in my work over the years, with people who have spinal cord injuries, that through this process we can consistently elicit movement throughout the body no matter how severe the spinal cord damage.
A Step-by-Step Process
The “regenerative visualization” session proceeds in a step by step fashion. First, there is the establishment of a relaxed hypnotic trance state where the mind is cleared and open to imagery.
Next, an activity is introduced that aligns with the client’s likes and favorites. Some of these include running, bicycling, swimming, surfing, dancing, and rock climbing.
What activity would YOU pick for your “regenerative visualization” sessions? Maybe mountain biking like this woman in Italy? Tell us in the comments below!
During this part of the session, careful attention is paid to the details of feeling and movement of each nerve, muscle, limb, digit, etc.
The sessions are trained, practiced, corrected, re-trained, and practiced again until the client comes to the end of the 45 minute session with an increased heart rate and respiratory rate, sometimes out of breath, and certainly sweating and tired. We are able to witness and track movements that occur during the sessions.
Our clients do this daily throughout the entire rehabilitation process. They do it with anticipation as they understand it accelerates the repair process and helps produce the changes they are seeking in their recovery.