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For many people, a major part of the discomfort or dread of an MRI comes from claustrophobia or the sense of being trapped. Imagine getting into a piece of machinery that resembles a cave. Imagine being alone and being restricted by a metallic structure. These feelings are understandable and would potentially give anyone an uneasy feeling. Your mind may wander to the most undesirable places and this is why many people suggest using mental relaxation techniques during your MRI.

Don’t forget that at South West MRI, our staff is with you all the way. All of our patients are briefed before, have access to assistance during the scan and will be guided through effective aftercare, but if you are still looking for a little more Zen, here is a list of four calming exercises to consider.

1. Controlled Breathing

One technique you can use involves controlling your breathing. For example, if you feel your breath starting to speed up or any anxious thoughts beginning to flood your mind, you can try breathing in through your nose and then let the air out of your mouth. When you’re breathing in, you can count to a certain number (count 1 to 10). It may help to hold your breath for a few seconds or more on the end of inhaling, doing the same at the exhale. This works to make the breath deeper and more controlled.

2. Scanning your body mindfully

If you already practice meditation or yoga, one concept you’ll likely be familiar with is the body scan.

The idea is to bring your body into rest by checking in with each body part, making sure each area is free of tension. You can start by breathing deeply to relax. Then, begin focusing on different parts of your body, starting from the top of your head and moving all the way to your feet. Don’t forget each toe! You can check in with your organs and even mentally scan the strands of your hair. Take your time.

Be aware of any sensations, whether they be negative or positive. Maybe you are not feeling anything at all. Just accept whatever is happening. Imagine sending deep breaths into each part of the body that you are focusing on, filling them with oxygen and energy. Before you have an MRI scan you can work with a meditation teacher, or check out some books or videos on these topics.

Throughout the exam, you may have distracting thoughts. Don’t get frustrated by these—they’ll come and go. Just keep your awareness gently centered on your breathing.

3. Relaxing Imagery

This is often a fun one for people. You imagine yourself in a relaxing place. It could be entirely based on a real place, such as your cozy den at home, a beach you love, or a relaxing walk you’ve taken through fields and forest; you can also craft an imaginary place. The point is to mentally go to this place, imagining its relaxing sights and smells and sounds. You can also imagine fun, relaxing people surrounding you. During the MRI exam, you have the option of listening to music you like or to wear earplugs. This can also help you go to a pleasant mental place, simply because the sound of the machine is dampened.

4. Mantras

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to have a short and simple mantra to focus on. This can be something like, “I am safe” or “I am well,” because in reality, an MRI is a routine and safe procedure. Although you should always mention if you’re feeling discomfort or negative side effects from anything, the fact is that numerous people get MRIs done safely every day. If you don’t want to focus on one specific mantra, you can talk to yourself mentally in a soothing, calm voice. You can give yourself reassurance. You can remind yourself that you’re strong and that you’re in control, which is true, because you chose to get the MRI and you’re doing it for your health. You’re in control of your life, even at that moment when you’re lying inside of the machine. You can also remind yourself that the procedure doesn’t take forever. It has an end and then you’re able to continue with your day.


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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a safe and painless way to get detailed high definition pictures of the human body and is often recommended for a more accurate diagnosis of many health problems. An MRI machine uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce these high-quality computer images. Early detection of many conditions helps doctors diagnose with precision, moving toward a recovery action plan and generally, a better health outcome.

As important as the MRI scan results are, they are most useful when produced as early in the process as possible. Multitudes of studies and figures reveal again and again why a delayed MRI can create difficulties. An MRI is a lab procedure and just like any other medical testing procedure, it is carried out by people. Medical professionals appreciate the accuracy of MRI results, but sometimes need the time to analyze the results further, often comparing what they see with similar cases they have had in the past. With the results in hand, patients can begin their personal healing journey while professionals continue to build a solid portfolio and treatment plan. Another motive for getting MRI results fast is the benefit of moving from an early diagnosis to immediate treatment, enabling prevention opportunities. For instance, an endocrinologist would always suggest an early MRI scan to a patient of hypopituitarism as in some cases the hypopituitarism occurs because of a brain tumor right next to the pituitary gland. To illustrate the sensitive nature of this condition—this tumor is sometimes so small that it cannot be detected in just one MRI scan. Getting an MRI scan early gives more time should another scan be suggested.

The possibility of a tumor demands immediate diagnosis and immediate treatment, which requires having an MRI as fast as possible. However, it is not only due to the urgency of the ailment or abnormality, but sometimes also because of the intervention.

Another case maybe if someone is suffering from a spinal problem. Anyone in pain needs immediate attention. The faster the results are available, the sooner doctors can determine the nature of the problem and focus on diminishing the intense pain that generally accompanies such circumstances.

Lastly, getting MRI results back quickly alleviates the patient’s worry. A client may be anxious and not want to know the details related to the sometimes severe disorders that require an MRI scan; however, pre-knowledge may prevent many developments from ever occurring and thereby lead to a better prognosis.

A person does not get an MRI done in case of seasonal flu. Medical professionals understand that receiving the details related to ailments as serious as bone and joint damage, brain tumors, brain irregularities like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, certain nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and blood vessels blockage, etc. is a big step forward—a step that many would try to delay for fear of the unknown. A vast number of patients report that having the details has put them in a more informed position and better able to move forward in a positive way.

These medical problems are of a very serious nature and require immediate diagnosis, followed by immediate treatment. Getting MRI results as fast as possible may reveal valuable information that may avoid unnecessary physiological damage as well as put the client on the road to recovery.


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A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is a common procedure used by hospitals around the world. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body.
The development of MRI revolutionized the medical world. Since its discovery, doctors and researchers have refined techniques so as to use MRI scans to not only assist in medical procedures but also aid in research.

What is an MRI Scan

An MRI scan uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to create a detailed cross-sectional image of the patient’s internal organs and structures.
The scanner itself typically resembles a large tube with a table in the middle, allowing the patient to slide into the tunnel.
An MRI scan differs from CT scans and X-rays because it does not use ionizing radiation that can be potentially harmful to a patient.

History of The MRI

The first full-body MRI scanner was created by Prof. Raymond Damadian in 1977 and took nearly 5 hours to produce the first-ever full-body scan of a human. Dr. Ramadan nicknamed the first MRI scanner the “Indomitable” and it is currently housed in the Smithsonian Institute.2
The idea for MRI was initially conceived by Damadian in 1971 after he recognized that under nuclear magnetic resonance certain mouse tumors would display elevated relaxation times compared with normal tissues in vitro.

How does MRI work?

An MRI scanner contains two powerful magnets, which represent the most critical part of the equipment.
The human body is largely made of water molecules, which are comprised of hydrogen and oxygen atoms. At the center of each atom lies an even smaller particle called a proton, which serves as a magnet and is sensitive to any magnetic field.
Normally the water molecules in our bodies are randomly arranged, but upon entering an MRI scanner, the first magnet causes the body’s water molecules to align in one direction, either north or south.
The second magnetic field is then turned on and off in a series of quick pulses, causing each hydrogen atom to alter its alignment and then quickly switch back to its original relaxed state when switched off. The magnetic field is created by passing electricity through gradient coils, which also causes the coils to vibrate, resulting in a knocking sound inside the scanner.
Although the patient cannot feel these changes, the scanner can detect them and, in conjunction with a computer, can create a detailed cross-sectional image for the radiologist to interpret.


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