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.

Stiffness, Stillness, and Movement

I just finished a month-long movement challenge. To me, making movement a part of my day has been less about an intense, fitness program and more about noticing what my body needs and wants. Am I tired? Am I tense? Stressed? Sore? Maybe dehydrated?

Movement can be anything from pacing when you’re on a phone call to working at a standing desk with an option to sit, from playing hopscotch to going for a walk, stretching, swimming, sex, painting, paddling, yardwork, yoga. It can be working on your posture while you watch your favorite show or read this article.

It wakes up your body and helps you get out of your head. It brings you oxygen and often reminds us to drink more water. It also helps you to be still.

Be still? Why is being still connected to movement? When you’re stuck on something, stillness enables you to think about it calmly without being restless to move onto something else or becoming consumed with resolving it to the point of anxiousness. Often, when we’re restless, it’s because our body needs to expel energy. To exchange old energy for new energy. But if we never give energy the chance to renew, restlessness can seep into many areas of our lives. Thus, practicing movement allows us to also practice stillness. We cannot have this stillness without movement.

Both are important for overall health. Consider a child who hasn’t played all day and is bouncing off the walls when you want them to settle down. Without movement, the child has all their energy buzzing with no outlet. This doesn’t change when we get older. Notice your partner furiously tapping their foot at dinner, or palming the side of the couch again and again with a trace of aggitation? Notice having an unpleasant night’s sleep and waking tangled in the sheets? As we age, we simply take on more responsibilities and create tons of energy inside our minds. Movement remains the most important way our bodies dispel all this extra energy, allowing us time to rest and heal.

Are you new to movement or recovering from a long-term injury or pelvic pain? Not moving for hours without the explicit purpose of sleep or mental rest is damaging to tissues, I refer to this as stiffness. As a result of stiffness, overstretching the body is very easy.

Here’s a tip if you feel stiff: ease into any movement (regardless how small it is) to prevent muscle tears. Our muscles are pretty delicate when they haven’t been moving because they are so tight. When you begin a movement routine, make your stretch only a fraction at the beginning. Add a little more as you go, without any bounce. We don’t want to be scared of moving, but I know that’s not always easy. Think of this as fun, be curious and patient. Be especially nice to your neck and hips. It’s probably not going to feel good if you lift really heavy things or get on a pogo stick or trampoline. Walk, it’s okay to go slow. You will gain speed at the perfect time for you.