Breast Cancer Self-Care and Recovery: Guided Imagery

The following is a sample ten-minute guided imagery exercise from the Personal Support and Lifestyle Intervention Program of the UCSF/CPMC, a program of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.

Help yourself to relax in whatever way you find easiest:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Body scan relaxation
  • Breath counting
  • Imagine relaxation flowing through you like a warm waterfall or gentle mist
  • Other

Imagine yourself in a beautiful, safe retreat in nature. Use all your senses. Here are some examples:

  • A garden where you watch fluffy, white clouds in a blue sky, while you inhale the fragrance of flowers and feel a gentle breeze on your cheek.
  • A mountain scene where you feel the enjoyment of your muscles walking on a path. You smell the pine trees warming in the sun or dip your feet into a cool mountain stream and let your foot rest on a round, slippery stone.
  • The seashore where you feel the sun warming your shoulders, you wiggle your toes under the sand to find the cool, and you hear gentle waves hissing as they pull back from shore.

As a general wellness promoting exercise, spend as much time there as you like, imagining yourself moving and feeling just the way you would like to. See, feel, and experience yourself doing whatever represents to you, a picture of your optimum health.

To work on a specific physical or emotional difficulty, imagine it and study it carefully for a few moments. Then call up an image of the same problem, now in a completely healed state. Imagine the problem changing into the healed image. End by focusing on the healed image.

You may wish to draw or write down some thoughts about your imagery session.

Breast Cancer Self-Care and Recovery:


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.