Welcome to our ongoing series, “Introducing an Instructor.” From time to time, our instructors write about their work here in The Studio and discuss ways in which these programs can help participants manage their fibromyalgia symptoms. Today’s guest writer: Loretta Inman.
Hello, everyone! I’m Loretta Inman, and I have fibromyalgia – in fact, I’m the organizer of the Gresham Area Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain/Fatigue Meetup. So I am intimately familiar with the problems caused by lack of sleep: we become overtired and achy, we can’t think properly, and all of our fibromyalgia symptoms are exacerbated. It’s a profoundly unsatisfying way to live.
Like many of us with fibromyalgia, I’ve spent years searching for solutions. During this process, I came to explore guided visualization. This practice has taught me how to give my body permission to respond to stimuli, to focus on pleasure, and to relax deeply. The first time I participated in these activities, I felt rejuvenated, as if my batteries had been recharged. I later learned that 30 minutes of this restorative practice is equivalent to 8 hours of REM sleep – which explains why I felt so rested and renewed. It was amazing! My body responded extremely well to guided visualization: over time, my daily pain levels went from a 9 down to a 2-4, and my mental clarity and cognitive skills improved as dramatically.
And this isn’t “all in my head”, so to speak – or maybe it is. Research indicates that adding the imagery of the body’s feeling healthy to a guided visualization practice can stimulate the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that translates our emotional reactions into physical responses. When the brain focuses on positive possibilities, it can help create positive outcomes.
Owing to my initial experiences, I am such a believer in the importance of guided visualization as a tool to manage fibromyalgia and chronic pain that I have become a Certified Consulting Hypnotist. I now own a thriving practice, where I help others like me develop new strategies to combat pain, fatigue, and other maladies. I’ve found that guided visualization can help people feel more comfortable within their own bodies, function at higher levels, and develop patience with and compassion for themselves – all of which are critical to my own fibromyalgia management.
On Saturday, April 7, I will be offering a free workshop at The Studio at The Frida Center: “An Introduction to Guided Visualization.” I’ll explain more about the role that guided visualization can play in managing fibromyalgia symptoms, and then I will lead a visualization session that will last about 30 minutes. Participants may choose to sit or lie down during the visualization, so please feel free to bring whatever will make you most comfortable: yoga mats, blankets, pillows, eye masks, and heating pads are all welcome.
Practicing guided visualization has made a profound difference in my life with fibromyalgia. My pain levels are significantly lower, I have much more energy, and my overall sense of well-being has soared. I am tremendously excited at the prospect of sharing this experience with you on April 7.
Loretta Inman CH is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist and Reiki Practitioner. Her next program at The Studio will be a free event, “An Introduction to Guided Visualization”, offered Saturday, April 7, 1:00-2:00PM. For more information, please contact Loretta at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Studio at email@example.com.