Both a mental process (as in imagining) and a wide variety of procedures used in therapy to encourage changes in attitudes, behavior, or physiological reactions. As a mental process, it is often defined as “any thought representing a sensory quality.” It includes, as well as the visual, all the senses – aural, tactile, olfactory, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic.
Imagery has been successfully tested as a strategy for alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients, to relieve stress, and to facilitate weight gain in cancer patients. It has been successfully used and tested for pain control in a variety of settings; as adjunctive therapy for several diseases, including diabetes; and with geriatric patients to enhance immunity.
Imagery is usually combined with other behavioral approaches. It is best known in the treatment of cancer as a means to help patients mobilize their immune systems, but it also is used as part of a multidisciplinary approach to cardiac rehabilitation and in many settings that specialize in treating chronic pain.
- IM (intramuscular)
An IM medication is given by needle into the muscle. This is as opposed to a medication that is given by a needle into the skin (intradermal) , just below the skin (subcutaneous) or into a vein (intravenous).
- In situ, carcinoma
Cancer that has stayed in the place where it began and has not spread to neighboring tissues (for example, squamous cell carcinoma in situ).
- In vitro
In glass, as in a test tube. An in vitro test is one that is done in glass or plastic vessels in the laboratory. In vitro is the opposite of in vivo.
- In vitro fertilization
A laboratory procedure in which sperm are put in a special dish with unfertilized eggs to achieve fertilization. The embryos that result can be transferred into the uterus or frozen (cryopreserved) for future use. Abbreviated IVF.
- In vivo
In the living organism. For example, an experiment that is done in vivo is done in the body of a living organism as opposed to in a laboratory method that does not use the living organism as the host of the test. In vivo is the opposite of in vitro.