The use of dreams for physical healing was very common in the ancient world. The sick would sleep in healing temples in search of a dream that would heal them or at least diagnose their illness and offer a cure. Of course, we are unable to assess the effectiveness of these ancient methods (LaBerge, 1990).
The clear physiological effects of dreams on our minds and bodies indicate that activities in dreams are as real to us as in waking life. Additional studies conducted during lucid dreaming, show that dreamers who hold their breath or speed up their breathing in a dream also do so in reality. Hence, if we want to improve our lives, we must also include the world of our dreams in our efforts (LaBerge, 1990).
In his book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Robert Waggoner describes a dreamer, who, during a lucid dream, saw a figure putting out a cigarette on the back of his hand. When he woke up, he found a round burn the size of a cigarette on the back of his right hand. This sounds illogical and does not fit with the results of studies on the effect of dream experiences on the physical body, but may remind us of experiments conducted in hypnotic states. In these hypnotic states, some subjects demonstrate the ability to create physical changes such as burn marks, bleeding and pain that appear or disappear.
This specific case shows the highest suggestibility recorded in lucid dreams and the dramatic potential to create change in the physical body through lucid dreams. This case raises the question of whether conscious dreamers can influence their bodies to heal with the help of a lucid dream. Amazingly, the answer is probably yes. There are many examples of lucid dreamers who tried to apply this method, some of them were unsuccessful and some report success in reducing the severity of physical symptoms and promoting a healing process. In some cases, complete healing of a medical problem occurred. It seems that what causes some dreamers to succeed compared to others is the belief in their ability to shape reality through expectation, focus, intention and willpower. Another factor is the healing method. Some lucid dreamers try to induce physical healing with the help of various techniques:
- Maneuvering the dreaming body directly or symbolically.
- Creating a focused intention of healing, sometimes manifesting spontaneously as a beam of light.
- Focusing positive affirmations, chants or energy in the form of sound.
- Creating imagined healing.
- Searching for information about the cause or meaning of the disease in a dream.
- Searching for a doctor, medicine or healing environment in a dream.
In her book The Healing Power of Dreams, Patricia Garfield describes a dream in which she found debris and junk such as screwdrivers, lamps, and other tools in her body. In the dream she removed this waste and when she woke up she described a significant relief in her body and could walk for the first time since an accident she was involved in. This is an example of a dream containing visual symbolism. In another dream, a dreamer describes how she puts her (dreaming) hands into her chest and holds her heart while thinking thoughts of healing and peace (Garfield, 1992).