What is it ?
Body scans are literally what they sound like, one either sits or lays down on their back and imagines scanning from their toes to their head felt body sensations. This is a mindfulness exercise to help people feel into the body and build awareness of felt body sensations and of dysponesis, if present. Dysponesis is muscle tension one hold thought the day and is not aware of.
Who/Why is it for?
Body scans benefit everyone because they help relax the mind of anxious thought processes and help it focus on what is occurring in the body. By building awareness of ones body one can begin to identify warning signs of stress. For example, shoulder tension if prolonged can be a trigger for headaches.
How’s it done?
The exercise is performed by starting in a reclined or laying down position with support around the knees and neck to eliminate any tension in the body.
Next one begins by starting to focus either at ones toes or ones head and notice what is felt.
Felt body sensations include, muscle tension, temperature, pain, and tactile sensations to name a few.
As one scans the body you describe to yourself where and what is felt, not aloud, once everything is described to the best of ones abilities in that specific body part focus is shifted to the breath.
Breathing is done slowly (not deeply) via the diaphragm for one breath.
The breathing acts as a reset to let go of the focus in the previous body region as sometimes pain can distract people from moving attention further up/down the body.
The process continues until one scans the entire body. The practice can be quick and one just focuses on large body parts or can be extensive and lengthy by focusing on every part of the body.