‘Visualisation saved my life – now I want to make it mainstream’

  • Mental fitness start-up Remap teaches visualisation – a powerful tool for improving wellbeing
  • It is backed by science and is useful for those who struggle to meditate
  • Co-founder Maya took 65 pills a day for her chronic pain, was frequently hospitalised and thought she would never have a normal life: until she found visualisation
  • The meditation market is worth billions. Visualisation could be next
  • ‘It’s been lifesaving and lifechanging. I just wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for visualisation’ – Maya

A wellbeing start-up hopes to help millions with visualisation techniques that are credited with saving its co-founder’s life.

Remap describes visualisation as “weightlifting for the brain” that can improve how people “think, feel and perform”.

Visualisation is rooted in neuroscience, practised by athletes and successful businesspeople and can either complement meditation or be a more active alternative for those who struggle to meditate. Meditation is now a multi-billion pound industry – and the team from Remap believe visualisation could be next.

It was started by two friends who met at the University of Bristol and wanted to “pioneer a mental fitness revolution”.

Currently Remap is running public workshops and one-to-one coaching, while providing digital tools and seminars for businesses. It will launch digital courses later this year and an app in early 2024.

As a teenager, co-founder Maya Raichoora suffered debilitating pain from ulcerative colitis.

At its worst she was taking 65 pills a day and was in almost constant agony.

“It’s been lifesaving and lifechanging, I just wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for visualisation,” said Maya, now 24.

“I was told by many people that my life – the life that I knew – was over; that I’d need 24/7 care for the rest of my life, surgery, all those kinds of things.

“The pain was constant and inhuman. Even the highest levels of morphine wasn’t doing anything. Sometimes it was too painful to cry.

“I still remember the day they said I wouldn’t go to uni, that I physically couldn’t. It was a lot for a 15-year-old.”

Maya was in yet another hospital bed – unable to walk for the last two weeks from the pain – when she started visualising. She began small, imagining what it would feel like to walk again.

The mental images gave her a flash of hope. But it would take a few days of visualisation before she finally made her first tottering steps.

“I just thought ‘oh my god’,” Maya said. “I kept doing it from then on. I would visualise going home, seeing my dog, going to Bristol University. It slowly gave me the motivation and strength to keep going.”

“Nine years on, having consulted with medical professionals, I no longer take any medication.”

She spends an hour visualising and an hour meditating every day. The visualisations vary, but can include the future she wants, a positive outcome to a pitch meeting or simply images that evoke positive feelings.

Many can benefit from just 10 minutes of visualisation a day, she says.

“It’s about rewiring your brain. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between visualising an activity and doing it for real, so it builds new connections and learns to think differently,” Maya said.

“Right now I just feel so grateful to be where I am. That I could now help someone else is what motivates and helps me stay on my mission.”

Last week, Maya won an Innovate UK Young Innovator Award, which includes a one-off grant and a stipend to cover living costs.

Maya met co-founder Ben Wainwright while they both studying at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It was here they learnt the skills founders need to create successful start-ups and began crafting Remap.

They continue to be mentored by Centre staff and recently won funding from the University’s start-up competition.

Ben, who struggled with anxiety during his school years, said: “Just as people train their bodies to reach their aspirations, they can also train their minds.

“Much of my anxiety was brought on by my own mind. It was a big moment for me to realise that if my mind was causing it, it could stop it too.”

The 23-year-old computer scientist added: “Visualisation has a really strong evidence base. We envision a world where mental fitness is as common as physical fitness.”


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