How to do body scan meditation

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Key takeaways:

  • Health care professionals can use body scan meditation for stress reduction.
  • The approach is easy to learn.

Life as a health care professional can be stressful, but there is a quick technique that can combat feelings of tension.

Body scan meditation is a relaxation technique that involves focusing on each body part to identify any tension, discomfort or pain. The aim is to stay present in the moment while being aware of your body. This technique can help reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension, and improve focus.

There are different approaches to body scan meditation, but ideally, you should set aside at least 15 to 20 minutes. You can adjust the duration based on your needs and goals.

The following 10-step approach is one adapted variation to consider:

Step 1: Get comfortable in a seated or supine position.

Step 2: Slow down your breathing through belly breathing. Imagine smelling the scent of a rose with a deep but gentle inhale and then breathe out gently through pursed lips as if you are making the flame on a birthday cake candle flicker but not blow out.

Step 3: Focus on your left foot. Is there any pain or tightness, or is there uncomfortable pressure sensation? If so, visualize breathing away the discomfort while belly breathing.

Step 4: If the discomfort doesn’t go away, refocus and try again. If it persists after several attempts, move on to the next body part.

Step 5: Repeat step 3 for your left knee and hip before moving on to your right leg.

Step 6: Repeat the relaxation technique for your abdomen, lumbar, chest and upper back.

Step 7: Use the same approach for your left hand, elbow and shoulder, then repeat it on your right arm.

Step 8: Continue scanning your face, jaw, the back of your neck and top of your head.

Step 9: Take several more belly breaths and enjoy the reduced or eliminated discomfort. If any pain persists, determine if it has improved slightly.

Step 10: Gently smile and open your eyes to continue with your day or drift off to sleep if it’s bedtime.


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