The following excerpt is from The Journey into Self: How to Use Guided Imagery to Empower Your Life and Heal Physically and Emotionally by Charles D. Leviton, EdD, and Patti Leviton, MA (Trafford Publishing, 2011).

“A study was done in the 1990s by Weiland and Murphy to research the rate of healing while in different states of consciousness, such as being awake or being asleep. The study used burn victims, making it easy to literally watch the rate of growth in new skin cells in newly grafted areas. It was discovered that while these patients were awake, the average rate of cell regeneration in a 3-hour period of time was approximately 8-19 new skin cells in a 1 square millimeter of space. While the patients were asleep, this regeneration increased to 100 to 150.

“Curiously, they took the experiment one step further, and while these patients were in a state of meditation, doing guided imagery, prayer, etc., the regeneration of the new skin cells increased dramatically to between 400 to 450. Being relaxed in the process of guided imagery, the body starts to physically shift, the heart rate slows down, the pulse likewise slows down, the immune system is strengthened and the metabolism speeds up. The body can heal faster.

“A study done in 1983 by Dr. Moore and Dr. Kaplan targeted patients with symmetrical burns. Half the group was given guided imagery to increase blood flow and healing to one side of the wound area only. Temperature of the side focus was increased by 4 to 11 degrees, and within three days, non-partial observers were able to tell a significant difference. The targeted side healed 2-3 days earlier.

“And, also the psychological support of imagery can reduce pain and significantly reduce anxiety during burn dressing changes. As reported by Patterson and Wilson in their research, more than 50% of their 172 burn patients experienced post-traumatic stress symptoms, such as intrusive recollection and sleep disturbance, one year after the injury. Those patients who used imagery on a daily basis found that their symptoms at one month were predictive of improvement at the one year mark.”