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.

The Body-Scan Meditation

True-to-you Tuesday!

If you haven’t already, please join me in my Facebook Group! A closed group where I post True-to-you Tuesdays: self-care routines that can be adapted to your authentic lifestyle. And Venus Day, a day to launch you on a science experiment with your own body!

A Body-Scan is a meditation technique that can be done in many different ways and situations. It is very adaptable to suit your personality and lifestyle. They can last from anywhere between a minute to an hour. The average is about 5-20 minutes. If it’s your first time, I recommend choosing a guided one. I have placed two links in the comments, one 5 minutes and one 12 minutes. There are many others available on YouTube, and some are built into relaxing stories, such as The Waterfall on the Calm app.

In practice:

  • Move through the body with curiosity.
  • Feel from the inside.
  • Try not to use your eyes to visualize as that can cause tension.
  • If you find a place that needs more time, explore different lengths of guided meditations on YouTube, make your own, or have one customized for you. (Let me know if you’re interested. I will create one for you!)
  • If you find you are skipping over a body part or can’t get past it to other body parts, take gentle note. What does that part of you need? Place your hand there and send it messages of what is needed. Love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance are four common themes.
  • It might help to imagine an animal, such as a cat, in sleep their body is completely supported by what they are resting on.
  • Note that the scan can be done in any amount of time you have (learn how to create your own scan below).
  • Consider breathing a certain color of light into each part of the body as you scan it.
  • Fast scans are good for grounding, especially with two feet placed flat outside on the earth.
  • Long scans are best in your most comfortable, relaxed position, so you can note that the surface you are on is completely supporting you.

Benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Takes you into the present moment
  • Allows you to grow awareness to where your body needs nourishment or places to take it easy
  • Allows you gentle access to places that have chronic pain and opportunities to reconnect to those places
  • Teaches us to accept our bodies
  • Brings focus to the breath
  • Provides a quick grounding moment
  • Is a good beginning or advanced meditation

Framework to create your own:

  1. Choose if you will lie down or sit up. Consider the length of time with this choice.
  2. Start with your breath and where that is felt in the body, the chest, stomach, throat, shoulders?
  3. Begin the scan at the head, move to each part of the head, including the face, then neck, shoulders, arms, fingers
  4. You can choose to explore your limbs simultaneously or separately, or mix it up
  5. Be specific and linger longer on places you experience regular or occasional pain.  
  6. Move through all torso parts, ribs, abdomen, pelvis, any organs you want to include
  7. Scan all parts of the leg,
  8. Scan the parts of your feet
  9. Feel into your awareness of the body as a whole
  10. Return to the room with senses one at a time, taste, smell, hearing, texture under fingers
  11. Feel points of contact on your skin, what you’re resting on, your clothing.
  12. Wiggle fingers, toes
  13.  Incorporate sight: open eyes

Thank you for stopping by for True-to-you Tuesday!