Have you heard of a body scan meditation before? A body scan meditation is a practice that places special attention on the physical sensations in the body. In this micro level-meditation, a person places focused attention on every part of the body – from the skin, internal organs, joints, etc. – and what it is experiencing. Rather than a typical meditation that focuses on relaxing the body, a body scan meditation is a useful practice in increasing self-awareness about the connection between physical and emotional sensations that your body actually experiences.
So how exactly does it work? In a body scan mediation, the person meditating sweeps their full attention over the body starting from the feet, taking time to rest on various parts of the body. As a mindfulness exercise, the goal is to not relax or change the state of the body – it is simply intended to lead the mind to the present state of the body. In this ideal state, the meditator can feel any sensations that arise in the body and observe them as they come and go on their own. The body scan meditation has helped many people with chronic pain to learn to live with their pain, as it is always fluctuating. This level of acceptance of any sensations in the body is the true power of the body scan, as it allows people to accept any sensations as not constant, but as ebbs and flows.
Body scan meditation has many additional benefits as well. One study split adolescents experiencing insomnia into 2 groups, one practicing body scan meditation and the other one behaving normally. This study showed a correlation between improved sleep quality and less irritability in the group of adolescents who practiced body scan meditation. In another study examining the effects of body scan meditation on a group of people in the process of quitting smoking, researchers found that utilizing the technique was significantly correlated to decreased irritability, restlessness and tension. In a third study focusing on body scan practice time with breast cancer survivors, body scan time directly helped improve depression and stress.
Want to learn more about body scan meditation and how you can incorporate it into your life? Follow Caravan’s 5 Min Body Scan Meditation to help you become more in tune with your body today!
“Body Scan Meditation.” Mindful, https://mindful.stanford.edu/additional-resources/self-care/body-scan-meditation/.
“How to Perform Body Scan Meditation: 3 Best Scripts.” PositivePsychology.com, 20 June 2022, https://positivepsychology.com/body-scan-meditation/.