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What is body scan meditation?

The body scan is the first step in meditation. The person meditating "checks in" with body parts, one at a time. The idea is to focus on a particular part of the body to the point where the person meditating feels it: Is my foot tense? Is it relaxed? Is it tired? Achy?

By achieving an intimate connection between the mind and the body, a person becomes much more aware of what is happening with his or her physical form.

Such awareness can lead to an ability to control the body with the mind, allowing people to manage pain with the mind-whether it is chronic pain, or the pain that follows a medical procedure.

Body scan meditation is a relaxation technique that incorporates breath focus and visualization. This technique helps you become more attuned to the connection between your mind and body. Almost all of us carry unnecessary tension in our muscles. But where each of us feels it varies. One woman might have a tight neck and shoulders, while her husband feels an iron band digging into his forehead. A body scan can help you locate -- and release -- the tension in your body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.