Five Reasons You Should Practice a Body Scan Ritual

The biggest part of my journey to become a coach was pain transformation. Many things contributed to that transformation and one of them was being able to be comfortable inside my body. To achieve this comfort, one tool I used was a body scan.  

I offer my general body-scan audio as a suggestion for you to try; it’s on YouTube so anyone can access it!  It helps us bring more awareness to our body in safe, guided ways. If any of the following scenarios apply to you, it’s a great time to begin this ritual:

One: If you’re looking for an intro to meditation and need a place to start.

Two: The body scan can be used for relaxation alone, and incorporates some nice deep breathing. I recommend it for those that simply need an easy way to maintain stress levels and grow self- awareness.

Three: If you have mild to severe chronic pain, this can help your mind to accept that area of your body with the pain instead of being angry or ashamed of it. It’s really hard to heal when we’re at war with ourselves or when all we try to do is numb the pain or band-aid it. This was my experience, please read my deep-dive blog post if you relate! I share a lot more insights on how it works and why it is a great tool.

Four: If you’re feeling really wound up, or tight in your body. This can be a signal that a chronic condition is preventable if you take action. If you’re starting to notice some occasional body pain (headaches, stomach upset, etc.), this can be a great way to help nip it in the bud before it becomes a chronic condition, especially if it’s related to stress. It’s free and only takes about 20 minutes a day. If you find it resonates with you, I would do this for two weeks straight and then drop to 3x per week. It will restore the energy you have recently felt waning.

Five: Advanced meditators that are experiencing pain related to stress in their bodies and need assistance navigating it can benefit. Listen to the audio once or twice and take it from there. The audio I made also ties in with the chakras, so you can visualize them as you do the body scan. It includes front body and back body chakras. I will have a post about chakras, and about how I purposefully made this body scan different than others to include them.

If you like what you hear, I also offer personalized audios. If you enjoy this journey and there’s a specific area of the body you want to spend more time exploring and loving, that part of the body scan can be extended to give you a deeper experience. This experience will help you feel like you can take your time. You won’t be rushed through your pain points or have to pause the recording to dive deeper.  Connect with me if that sparks your interest!

 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to treat, prevent, or cure any disease. The statements within are opinions of the author and are not to be used in place of a medical providers care. If you have a pain, please contact your medical provider. Please find a licensed medical professional that will support you on your healing journey.

Deep Dive into Body Scans for Healing

Today, I posted a brief article about the five different reasons you might want to bring body scans into your daily ritual, focusing on who the practice would benefit. If you missed it, you can read it here. You can also listen now, on YouTube.

If you related with topic number three, I am glad you are here. 

As a tool to help heal chronic pain, the body scan can really help us by breaking the cycle of escaping from the pain enabling us to use our minds to start the healing process.

By recognizing sensations of pain, we can start to understand why they are happening and not waging a war on the pain, which is also waging war on our body, spirit, and mind. This type of relaxation offers supportive guidance and encourages us to relax tight and guarded areas. It allows healing to begin in three ways:

  1. restricted blood flow finally makes it to the area that is tight and the body can start its natural healing process
  2. relaxation techniques are proven to reduce stress which reduces cortisol in the system and promotes a healing state
  3. new pathways in the brain are formed, and we begin loving our whole selves

It took four years for me to get a diagnosed with what was causing my pain. The pelvic region is very complex. I was in physical therapy when it was determined I might have to get surgery to repair the small tear I kept aggravating, that they finally found with a lot of scans.  It’s important to work with your medical provider if you have pain. It’s important to not give up. I understand that habits form very easily while trying to treat and diagnose pain. I want to help you have healthy habits that feel true to you.

I want to share that this process took time for me. It’s only one piece of my healing journey but it’s a part I found so important its worth sharing with everyone that might be suffering from pain. Plus, I absolutely love body scans.

After I heard I might need surgery, I happened to find a neurology-focused chiropractor. She supported me for the next year of my healing journey, along with discoveries I made about my health in my health-coaching program and other self-care practices.

I have to admit, I was dedicated to getting better, and I know that mindset of perseverance, being open to new things, and being in action about the healing journey are all important, because without those elements, I would have never found the body-scan meditation to begin with. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

At first, I couldn’t do the body scan, but the more time I spent, the further I was able to move down into my legs without just skipping over my abdomen, or getting stuck there all together. I spent daily sessions for over three months in awareness of my painful area. You will need to have patience, but if you stick with it, this can help you move the pain needle down and teach you more about yourself.

I am a firm believer that emotional and mental struggles manifest in our bodies, and just the same, when we have an injury or physiological issue causing pain, it can manifest painfully in our minds and hearts. And I believe that’s why this works.

 

Many times, the anger or sadness we feel towards our area of pain makes it very hard to heal, because we are tense. When we promote and allow the opposite–relaxation–we are giving ourselves freedom to heal. We can find ways to relax and bring love and acceptance in, it feels different and scary at first, but we must also consider the alternative, often times we have already been struggling in pain for years and what we’ve been doing is not working, even with the support of a licensed practitioner. Our quality of life is low.

This is an opportunity to allow healing to come in. So, if this meditation feels uncomfortable, work with it. Change can be uncomfortable inside at first, but transforming pain is rewarding and will help you in the future if other things come up.

It helps me, I still use this tool for stress maintenance and I know now that relaxing and bringing awareness to my pain actually supports my healing process, it lets me know something is off inside and gives me a chance to redirect  and heal before it turns into a chronic condition. It helps me be more aware of my body and the signals. That’s one of the beautiful things about meditation and why I am telling you all this in a blog post.  Meditation is inside us already and that shouldn’t cost anything.

If you have suffered for a long time it might be really scary to be in the area that hurts. That’s okay and it’s normal. Simply skip over that body part for awhile, or lighten your awareness of it until you’re ready.  

My body scan meditation is available on YouTube. It’s slightly longer than the one I used when I was healing for a few reasons, one being that I really wanted to break the torso down more according to our chakras (energy centers). Although I don’t mention chakras in the audio, if you are familiar, you can always bring them in to the meditation as you like. The second thing I wanted to pay attention to is way the earth has the ability to support us, so just think of a happy cat or dog, or any contented animal you’re familiar with. Think of the way they sleep or nap, or when you pick them up, how they might become dead weight in your arms, trusting and relaxing on the full support beneath.  We can do this as well, and I teach you how in the video.

Even with all of this, I didn’t want to make it too long, because I know time can sometimes challenge us, so it’s under 20 minutes!

Feeling ready? Relax into your body today. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

To further support you, I make customized audio files that focus on your particular area of pain. Book an appointment with me and it will take about 15 minutes to ask you some questions so I can customize the recording. The reason I am offering this is because I often had to pause the recording I used in order to spend more time exploring my abdomen, you might feel you want that for your area. And I can offer that additional guidance. The recording will be between 8-20 minutes, depending on what your unique relationship is with meditation and your daily routine.

The other 30 minutes you will also have an opportunity to ask questions about the support I had during my time with chronic abdominal pain, how I healed, and know that you’re not alone in your own personal struggle with pain. Sometimes it just feels good to talk about it with someone new that has had a similar experience.

The total is $30 for this 45 minute session and the recording. Please consider that this is for the time it takes to make the recording and for the coaching in the call.  I will give you everything I have to offer during your session and that time is what I am charging for.  There are no obligations to purchase anything else, in fact, unless you ask, we won’t even discuss my other services. Please book with me if you would like to dive deeper!

Listen to my free session now for an introduction!

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to treat, prevent, or cure any disease. The statements within are opinions of the author and are not to be used in place of a medical providers care. If you have a pain, please contact your medical provider. Please find a licensed medical professional that will support you on your healing journey.

Tiny Movement Session

Remember when we talked about stillness and stiffness? This is for those of us not moving around much because of low-level pain.

As we eek into the winter months walking and moving becomes even more important. Light a fire, turn on the electric baseboard, get cozy, letting  your muscles warm up and join me for a Tiny Movement Session.

Okay, let’s try an exercise (you might or might not want to be alone for this 😉

  1. Feel what the hamstring muscle feels like when you lift up your leg into a march.
  2. Okay, it moved, great! Put it down.
  3. If it moves without pain, continue the exercise. If not, evaluate your level of pain. If you’re on the scale over 5, I don’t recommend this exercise—yet. Work with your healer or physical health provider and come back to this later if they don’t teach you.
  4. If  your pain level is lower, let’s continue. Lift into a march again. You’re engaging. Focus on the muscle. Be in the muscle, but don’t overthink it. Okay. Put the leg down.
  5. Think of your foot. Look at that foot.
  6. Pretend you’re a dog for a moment, twitch your nose, sniff, paw the ground. Bark and whine. Really take a moment to act like that animal. Gently moving your hands and feet to pretend you’re running beneath the moon. (Pick any animal!)
  7. Now lift into a march again and think of your hamstring engaging. Feel it engage. Put it down, feeling.
  8. Stop focusing on it. Stop.
  9. Look at your foot.
  10. Be a dog.
  11. Repeat twice on each side.
  12. Do it a few times a week or every day.

In the future, when you’re just walking on your legs, (flipping your hair), you will occasionally notice the engagement of your muscle in your consciousness, and it won’t be tense, and it won’t just be your leg struggling to feel connected to your pelvis or all chill and just along for a shuffle. It will just feel good, and you will say, “Well done, Leg!”

What’s the point? I’m asking you to connect with your muscle without thinking about the mechanics of it, just being in the body, feeling it work, make the movement and then letting go. Overthinking this action in the moment can make things go a bit awry. For example, though your ego is not your hamstrings, your brain still has important work to do—it sends signals to the body. We’re working to clear this pathway of fear and doubt. That’s why it’s so important to approach this with baby steps. First, we make the movement and observe we can do it, we test the waters. Second, we let the shield down (I can move!) And third, we do the exercise just a few times, engaging the muscle and then taking a break to something safe, something tangible: thought stopping: “There’s my foot.” And then a different tangible activity: dog. We’re slowly teaching our body and proving to the parts of ourselves that forgot that this pathway still exists, and we’re ready to make the connection. And we’re safe, it’s okay.

Keep making your nice movements into a little routine and before too long your body will surprise you.  Movement will feel like a whole new world and your blood vessels will be on parade with a light march that engages your hamstrings with purpose—not relaxed, yet not tense.

This is relevant for anyone who has been suffering from pain or stiffness, it’s surprising but our bodies need a little help getting in the saddle again—so to speak (but too soon for riding, getting on a horse is really rough on a very tight body that hasn’t been moving much). This is just one technique I learned that helped me ease into using this huge, awesome muscle group without injuring it while also encouraging my neurons to fire as they were meant to fire. You can use this technique on multiple muscles. Be curious and be gentle with yourself.

Our bodies are so strong, but we owe it to them to listen and be gentle, too. The healing process is important, and it is just that, a process. My expectations of my body are still very high, and though I am getting better, it’s still a challenge to shut my brain up and say “Whoa, Ego, you’re on break, I can’t sit here and write for hours—and I have to pee.”

 

 

Credit and Disclaimer: I adopted this method from the many treatments I have had for chronic pain in the last four years. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, heal, or treat any health condition, disease, or injury.