Future Applications of Active Imagery
At In Mind In Body we have always aimed to help those going through and living with cancer through the power of the mindbody and physical activity. This is exactly what we designed our unique product Active Imagery to do, bringing together physical activity, guided imagery and exercise imagery. However, during the development stage of our product and through our extensive research, it soon became clear that Active Imagery had the potential to help a huge range of people and be successfully applied to help in a variety of different situations. Here we explore a few of the avenues that have appeared before us which may be explored in the future.
The first of these, and something we would very much like to address as soon as possible, is to help patients of any debilitating disease or treatment. It is clear that many of the side effects which Active Imagery was designed to help fight against, muscle atrophy, lethargy, depression, stress, to name but a few are far from being limited to cancer patients. Sadly in today’s world there are a whole host of conditions and diseases that can encourage these further side effects to occur. In many cases the diagnosis alone is enough to trigger feelings of stress, fear, depression and powerlessness. Although originally designed with cancer patients, it is clear that Active Imagery could help these patients as well.
Furthermore, we firmly believe that remaining active throughout treatment is the best way to maintain your health and to help you overcome the challenge. As we have detailed, Active Imagery has been created to help keep people participating in physical activity and to help bring the benefits of exercise to those who simply cannot. There are many who are bedridden, facing the complications of muscle atrophy and a sedentary lifestyle, who we can help to maintain their bodies strength and fitness whilst they are incapacitated. We have also touched upon in previous blogs how Active Imagery may be able to help those who need to have their muscles immobilised due to injury, through maintaining their muscle strength, it’s potential to help those with tetraplegia regain motor function and to help those suffering from conditions such as strokes and Parkinson’s disease to repair brain maps and regain motor function which they had lost. These are all areas where we feel we could make a significant difference and with more research target Active Imagery to help each condition individually to become as effective as possible.
Another area in which we hope to be able to make a difference in the near future is the lives of the elderly. Naturally as humans, as we begin to age we begin to slow down, our lifestyles become lazier and more comfortable as we aim to protect our growing frailty. However, we are in fact only adding to our own problems. By using our muscles less and less, we not only contribute to increased muscle atrophy but we begin to lose the brain maps for motor function and weaken the connections between mind and body. Through using Active Imagery we believe, as has been shown through research in exercise imagery, we can maintain the strength and health of these connections, helping our bodies stay fitter and stronger through the effects of aging, helping us to stay mobile and active well into our later years, completely redefining the way we experience old age.
One of the key elements that Active Imagery draws upon is the effects of exercise imagery, which is an accepted science in many areas, most notably in professional sport. With the influence of psychologists growing throughout the sporting world, one of the major changes they have brought is exercise imagery and visualisation. Here it is largely used to help skill performance and execution, with athletes asked to imagine themselves performing the perfect shot, serve, jump or race in order to help themselves to replicate the movement in pressure situations. The effects of exercise imagery have been proven and we believe that Active Imagery could take this a step further and help athletes become fitter, faster and stronger through enhancing the strength, speed and efficiency of the mind-body connections, helping them to achieve new levels of performance.
Overwhelming stress is often cited as a starting point for chronic illness and usually an inevitable side effect of diagnosis. Active Imagery is designed to help listeners switch on their relaxation responses, alleviate stress and reduce its symptoms. In the modern world stress has become the norm for many and one of the largest sources of this stress originates from work. Companies are starting to realise this and employ corporate wellness programmes to try and ensure their workers are happy and healthy. However, more can still be done with Forbes estimating in 2015 that work-related stress accounted for up to $190 Billion in annual US healthcare costs. So why not tackle the issue at the source? Active Imagery has the potential to be incorporated into wellness programmes to help employees relax at work as well as bringing health, and notably psychological, benefits of physical activity into the workplace, helping employees to not only look after their mental and physical wellbeing but possibly to be more decisive and efficient throughout the working day.
Being a completely digital format, Active Imagery has the potential to be used throughout the world in a whole host of scenarios. Anywhere there is a console or listening device, Active Imagery could be present. A great example of this could be during travel. Individual consoles are becoming the norm during long distance travel, particularly during flights, and active imagery would provide the perfect means to relax and activate your mind body connection during long periods of sitting down, helping to keep frequent passengers active and healthy, as well as, hopefully, entertained.
One of the more exciting explorations that has occurred during our development is the potential for active imagery to be applied in space travel. Having been in contact with a former Director of NASA’s Life Science Division, there is potential for active imagery to tackle the issue weightlessness in space for astronauts. Being up in zero-gravity conditions for long periods of time, astronaut’s muscles do not undergo the same physical exertion as they do on earth and they are forced to use complicated methods of physical exercise in order to maintain the health and fitness of their bodies. Active Imagery could be used within these programmes to help astronauts combat the effects of muscle atrophy and improve the neural elements to their bodies strength, keeping them strong and healthy for when they return to earth.