A new study supports previous research done that used guided health imagery to help smokers quit. Guided health imagery – a technique to help patients relax their muscles and open their minds to images of health and healthy living – has long been used to help surgery and cancer patients, as well as for reducing pain and reversing negative thoughts resulting from traumatic events including rape and other types of sexual assault.
This study, published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship looked at 71 smokers from a hospital outpatient clinic. Those in the intervention group were given instruction on how to use guided imagery and were encouraged to practice this imagery at least once per day with a 20-minute audio-taped exercise for reinforcement. The results showed that at 24-months after the intervention, smoking abstinence rates for the intervention group were 26 percent while abstinence rates were only 12 percent for the control group.
This research suggests that increased use of guided imagery techniques by clinicians to help their patients quit smoking could make a positive contribution to this country’s goal of reducing the number of adults who smoke to 12 percent by 2010.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 22 percent of adults continue to smoke despite the steady decline over the last few years. Smoking can lead to coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.