Body scan meditation is a component of mindfulness meditation and has been advocated by the brilliant Jon Kabat-Zin. The aim of body scan meditation is to pass consciousness around the body, becoming more aware of the energy and the sensations taking place around the body. Shamash Alidina, author of Mindfulness for Dummies, explains that body scan  meditation is about letting go of feelings of needing to get things done, releasing pent-up emotions, and getting in touch with the body. This is a wonderfully relaxing technique that has also been proven to help heal wounds and to improve overall health.
In this fantastic video the masterful Jon Kabat Zin shares invaluable insight into body scan meditation. Studies show that meditation can improve our psychological wellbeing by reducing stress, anxiety, addiction and depression and improving memory and critical thinking.
Over the past few years, meditation has evolved from an of-the-moment fad to a legitimate health craze, as research has linked the practice to everything from improved cardiovascular health to cognitive benefits. While the modern-day science behind this age-old practice is still developing, plenty of studies suggest that meditation is about way more than blissing out -- take a look at some of the possible benefits below, and scroll down for more information on each.
Researchers speculate that those who practice meditation develop the ability to exert greater control over unpleasant feelings, including pain, by turning them down as if using a "volume knob" in the brain.
Meditation training improves a wide range of willpower skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self-awareness. Several studies find that a person's ability to be mindful can help predict relationship satisfaction — the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner. Research also supports the notion that mindfulness meditation decreases emotional reactivity. Like pain, researchers have suggested that mindfulness meditation helps the brain to have better control over sensations, including negative emotions. The Mayo Clinic also reports that many people control stress by practicing mindfulness meditation (plus it's been linked with lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol) -- for the basics on how to get started, click here. Often associated with Eastern-world practices, meditation has been making headlines and infiltrating the West. Best of all, there's no catch: Meditation is free, and you can take it anywhere (all you need is your head).
We asked on Facebook the strangest place you've found yourself practicing, and from your answers it's clear: Meditation can happen in motion, and is often helpful in times we anticipate feeling tense.
The Body Scan is a sequential scanning of the entire body to simply bring awareness of each part. There are other forms of Body Scanning that are for relaxation and tension relieving and not meditation. Both types of body scans are known for being extremely relaxing, so even if you're not searching for and trying to relieve tension with meditation, it can definitely be a side effect of the process.
The information presented on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
If you’re mindful you’ll notice subtle sensations in your body (the sensations would be amplified if the cake were real).
If only we could have stopped for one minute to consciously say to ourselves “That rumbling in my belly is just a feeling. Not only is body scan meditation an immensely relaxing technique, it’s also been shown to heal wounds, to heighten the mind body connection, and to improve the immune system. Traditional to mindfulness meditation, when we meditate on the body we simply mindfully observe the sensations taking place.
At times you zoom in on a specific part of your body, focusing on your finger or your big toe, and then you zoom out to observe the entire body.

Take a moment to mindfully observe your body in a general, unguided way, simple observing what’s going on.
Like the amygdala, the Hippocampus is responsive to stress, though in this case stress can shrink the brain region. She found that the group increased the concentration of gray matter in the left hippocampus following the mindfulness training. One study of 40 older adults found that the eight-week MBSR training reduced concentrations of the marker C-reactive protein, which is associated with the development of heart disease. One small 2003 study showed a link between an eight-week mindfulness meditation program and better immune function, and 2012 UCLA research suggested meditation could improve the immune system in older people. In 2013 research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds in the Waisman Center, scientists identified a possible tie between mindfulness meditation and the relief of inflammatory symptoms among people who suffer from chronic inflammatory conditions.
A 2012 study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes showed a link between Transcendental Mediation and a reduction in heart attack, stroke and early death from heart disease in a group of African Americans, TIME reported. A 2010 study published in Psychological Science showed that Buddhist meditation improved focus and attention on a task that was designed to be both boring and demanding. Another Psychological Science study identified a link between mindfulness training and increased standardized test scores, as well as improvements in working memory. According to a 2013 article published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, mindfulness (defined as "paying attention to one's current experience in a non-judgmental way") can help people to understand their own personalities. A 2013 study from researchers at Northeastern and Harvard Universities suggested that meditation may be the key to unlocking compassion. A small study from Emory University showed that a compassion-based meditation program, called Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT), might help people to read others' facial expressions, HuffPost reported when the results were released in 2012. The 2014 review of 47 randomized trials, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that mindfulness meditation can be effective in easing depression for some patients, as well as anxiety, HuffPost previously reported. University of Oregon Research released in 2012 suggested that one type of Chinese mindfulness meditation could be associated with physical changes in the brain -- ones that might help stave off mental illness, HuffPost reported when the findings were released. In a study of people who had anywhere from one month to 29 years of mindfulness meditation practice, researchers found that mindfulness meditation practice helped people disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and enabled them to focus better on a cognitive task as compared with people who saw the pictures but did not meditate (Ortner et al., 2007).
Australian research published in Clinical Psychologist suggested that being mindful (which can be cultivated through mindfulness meditation) may be linked to having a healthier relationship with food and your body, Berkeley's Greater Good reported.
The review of studies from Johns Hopkins University researchers that was published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that mindfulness meditation may improve anxiety for certain people.
Research presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies suggested that meditation could be helpful in the treatment of insomnia. It's no mystery as to why: Just 20 minutes has been shown to decrease stress, help with depression and even lower blood pressure. We were curious where you take your meditation; while we might typically think it's a practice for stillness and silence, it turns out there's no place too loud or exclusive to find peace of mind. Check out some creative and brilliant places to meditate below, then tell us in Mind Over Body: Can Meditation Help Cure Cancer? The goal is not to judge or try to change anything, but simply become aware of that body part.
They’re not conscious of the sensations in their body, so their body is free to transmit all sorts of signals to their brain, toying with them like a puppet-master. Body scan meditation will make you more aware of those signals, thereby helping with cravings and addictions. A physical sensation occurs in the body that transmits a signal to the brain saying it’s time for a cigarette. This zooming in and out trains the mind to be able to move from close-up focus to broader awareness.

Plus, a review of 47 studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this year showed that meditation may be helpful in easing pain (though it was difficult for the researchers to identify exactly what type of pain, according to Reuters). Randy Zusman at Massachusetts General Hospital took patients being treated with typical high blood pressure medication and taught them a technique called the relaxation response; more than half experienced a drop in blood pressure, sometimes even resulting in reduced medication, NPR reported. In fact, a 2009 study from UCLA researchers showed that MRI scans of long-time meditators revealed that certain parts of their brains were larger than those of a control group, particularly in regions known for emotion regulation. The findings, which were published in the journal Psychological Science, showed that volunteers who underwent eight-week trainings in two types of meditation reacted more compassionately than those who hadn't meditated. A 2012 Brain, Behavior and Immunity study of 40 adults between the ages of 55 and 85 showed that a two-month mindfulness meditation program was linked with reduced loneliness.
This means turning off your cell phone and notifying anyone else in the home that you cannot be disturbed.
When your mind picks up on a source of stimulation (food, drink, raised voice, an attractive person, etc.) your body transmits signals to your brain.
But if you’re awake and aware of the sensations in your body, you’re able to say to yourself “That’s just a feeling. The American Heart Association also says that the stress-busting benefits of different types of meditation can be a boon to heart health. And it doesn’t take a lifetime of practice -- brain changes have been observed after eight weeks of brief daily meditation training.
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital who studies mindfulness meditation, previously told HuffPost that regular meditation may stave off the thinning of the brain's prefrontal cortex, and in turn declines in cognitive function, later in life. Specifically, researchers set up a waiting room where an actor with crutches appeared to be in pain while other actors ignored her -- 15 percent of the non-meditators helped the person in pain, compared with 50 percent of those in the meditating group.
When we combined each component of negative affect, we saw a small and consistent signal that any domain of negative affect is improved in mindfulness programs when compared with a nonspecific active control." And depression has been linked with other serious health conditions, including heart disease. Plus, a University of Utah study released last year showed a connection between mindful personality traits and improved sleep quality.
If only these peopkle practiced body scan meditation, they would soon notice considerable changes. If we’d have done that we would have taken control of our cravings and not eaten that slice of cake.
Those are two of the primary benefits of body scan meditation, though if you read the article we linked to above you will have discovered that body scan offers very many benefits to both your body and mind. Michael Irwin, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and director of the Cousins Center, said in a statement when the findings were released.
And I was somewhat skeptical that meditation could be the key to blood pressure control." What's more, the Mayo Clinic reports that research suggests meditation could be helpful in managing the symptoms of high blood pressure.
After you've finished the entire body, lie there for a bit and take in the body as a whole. The precise order in which you choose to focus on your body doesn’t matter too much, but move slowly and take time to really notice what’s happening with your body right now. Your mouth waters and your pupils dilate (as they always do when you see something you like).

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