Do you have experience using guided imagery with Achalasia?

Elizabeth, No, I haven’t worked with Achalasia (characterized by difficultly or an inability to swallow food) but I have seen the condition. I would bet that guided imagery (GI) would be a good tool to use.

However, I usually start with talk therapy and explore the psychological aspects of a condition and their symbolic implications. In this case it would involve at least the 5th chakra and possibly the 4th. Issues of feeling unloved may be involved, the client may be unable to speak their truths or have an inability to “swallow”what life has handed them. Then I might ask them to shuffle the Tarot cards and layout four cards that represents: the portrait of the self, what is conscious, what is unconscious and an outcome card. (More instructions are in my book Messages from the Archetypes.) Sometimes just being able to talk to someone about psychological issues goes a long way towards client healing. After talk therapy, and when the client was comfortable with our relationship, I would progress to GI…sometimes in the first session but usually at least the second session.

You cannot separate the mind from the body and that with every symptom, we should also treat what is troubling the person emotionally….which may be at the root of the problem in the first place. The unconscious mind speaks to us in symbolic images through dreams and since the body cannot speak, it also expresses itself symbolically. The chakra system is a good energetic map that can lead us and our clients to solutions. There are some good books on chakras: Anatomy of the Spirit by Carolyn Myss, PhD, Eastern Body Western Mind and Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, PhD, and Healing the Split by John E. Nelson, MD.

Shuffling and laying out a few Tarot cards and having a discussion around their images also goes a long way towards the client bringing issues to the surface to be healed. Then guided imagery to a safe place and then “possibly” progress the imaginary journey to the site of the symptoms in the body (one must go with the psychic flow of the client).

The symptom may or may not be responsive to this type of therapy. It is worth a try before resorting to botox treatment or surgery.

Currently, I am studying aroma therapy and can see that essential oils might also be useful to the holistic practitioner. In this case, it might be quite powerful to breath in an aroma along with GI. You could also bring color into the imagination session too. And on it goes. The possibilities of the healing arts in medicine is endless.
In healing, Toni

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7 Responses to Do you have experience using guided imagery with Achalasia?

  1. deonne says:

    I have no experience with this particular disorder either. But as a Registered Aromatherapist, I use essential oils in every client session. The usefulness of the oils for a holistic practitioner is that the olfactory nerve is the only place the brain is exposed to the outside world and connects directly to the limbic system where trauma, memories and motivation are stored. I use my knowledge of the oils and applied kinesiology to access the client’s body wisdom for the oils that will assist in releasing the issue that, as Toni said, most probably has an emotional component (as I too, believe all disease and disorder does). I work with the chakras as well as the meridians to learn where the issue is stored and prepare a take-home spray or pulse point blend for the client to continue to use in their “homework” process. I have found that essential oils work in a very profound way to heal on a deep-seated level.

  2. Toni Gilbert says:

    Hi Toni,
    Annie here. There is a very simple Jin Shin Jyutsu technique which opens the throat when someone is choking- not sure of the energetic disruption which is causing the achalasia (I am assuming long term issue) but using this works amazingly well. Simply place your hands on the inside of your knees which is safety energy lock #1, which is called the prime mover. You can use your fingertips to poke around a little to find the tender spot. A person may hold their safety energy lock all day long if time allows, or for a short time before/during eating to see if this is the spot that requires energetic harmonizing.
    Any questions, just let me know.

  3. Jane says:

    Some symptoms of achalasia are similar to what I have seen early MS (Multiple Sclerosis.) I will also Cc question to a Psychotherapist who effectively uses Guided Imagery in clinical practice. Am familiar with national expert in Guided Imagery: Beleruth Naparstek 800-800-8661 In 2006, she completed a study for Veterans Adminstration using Guided Imagery for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Apparently this approach was helpful! Duke University VA(–where study was done is also one of the leading places for alternative or complementary modalities that are used in many conditions. Immune system disorder is one of the possible contributors to achalasia and an integrative approach may be helpful. Contact Ms Naparstek and Duke via their websites.

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