Journal of Imagery Research in Sport and Physical Activity
Editor-in-Chief: Short, Sandra E.
CiteScore 2017: 0.38
SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.144
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.320
Evaluation of the Use of Healing Imagery in Athletic Injury Rehabilitation
“Healing imagery” can be defined as both visualizing affirmative images of internal physiological healing and visualizing oneself as healthy and fully functioning (Driediger, Hall, & Callow, 2006). Healing imagery has been found to effectively reduce the recovery time from various athletic injuries when combined with other mental skills such as self-talk and relaxation (Ievleva & Orlick, 1991). However, the literature remains void of a study that examines the potential benefits of the regular use of healing imagery techniques alone. This study compared the effects that a healing imagery intervention had on the recovery of one group of injured athletes to the recovery of a control group of injured athletes who did not receive the imagery manipulation. This study compared the two groups in three areas: satisfaction with rehabilitation, self-efficacy to recover, and return to play. The sample consisted of 9 injured varsity athletes (intervention group n = 5, control group n = 4). A significant interaction effect was found for satisfaction with rehabilitation, as athletes in the intervention group increased in satisfaction from Week 2 to Week 3, while the control group decreased in satisfaction during the same period. Both groups were found to be significantly higher in task self-efficacy than in coping self-efficacy during injury rehabilitation. The groups did not significantly differ in their return to play times. A qualitative review of the intervention group revealed that these participants believed that imagery helped them increase confidence, motivation, injury awareness, rehab adherence, relaxation, and focus, while decreasing their frustration with the rehabilitation program. This article discusses the results with respect to imagery effects, study limitations, and future directions.