If you’ve ever been in therapy for anxiety or in therapy for trauma treatment you may have been led through a Body Scan. Here I answer 6 questions about the Body Scan.

1. What is a Body Scan?

A Body Scan is often used in a variety of mental health treatment settings, including therapy for anxiety, therapy for depression, and therapy for trauma. It is used to strengthen body awareness, increase self-compassion, and practice mindfulness. It is a guided exercise where a facilitator leads the participant(s) to pay attention to all the parts of the body, non-judgmentally, one area at a time.

2. How can a Body Scan help me?

I love the simplicity (although not always easy) process of re-introducing ourselves to our bodies in a way where we don’t have to “do” anything. In a Body Scan we typically are not asking ourselves to change anything, but simply be aware. It is a practice to gently guide to check in and re-acquaint ourselves with our bodies and body sensations. Anyone who is looking to increase their body awareness, get in touch with their body sensations, increase their self knowledge can be helped by practicing a Body Scan. These skills can be the foundation of treatment for anxiety, trauma and depression with a dance/movement therapist or other body-oriented therapist.

3. Do I need a therapist to do a Body Scan?

You can do a Body Scan on your own by yourself, in a group or be led 1×1 by a facilitator. If you do a Body Scan on your own, know that you are at liberty to stop it at any time, especially if you feel yourself drifting away from your body.

4. Will a Body Scan relax me?

Many of my clients say they are relaxed at the end of a Body Scan. While not the goal of this exercise, many people find it relaxing. Some people even fall asleep.

5. What if I don’t like doing a Body Scan?

Concentrating on the body or parts of the body can bring up judgements, inadequacies, shame, disgust. If any of these emotions or reactions are coming up strongly for you this may not be the right time to do a Body Scan, especially on your own. There are many qualified therapists who can help you address these reactions. You may also be experiencing pain in your body, and for some people it may be difficult to tolerate during this practice. Don’t be discouraged if this isn’t for you right now! There are other ways to tune into the body and somatic therapist, dance/movement therapist, or other body-oriented therapist can help you.

6. Where can I find a recorded Body Scan?

For a self led Body Scan, here is an 8 minute version recorded by me, Kimberly Bevans, and a 20 minute Compassionate Body Scan by Kristen Neff.


Therapies such as somatic therapy and dance/movement therapy can help you rekindle your relationship with your body as a way to heal and also rediscover joy in your life. If you are interested in using body-oriented techniques to address your stress, anxiety, trauma or relationship difficulties, contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am currently accepting new clients online and in person in my Be Moved Therapy Boston office. I serve women across Massachusetts and from Boston, West Roxbury, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Westwood, Watertown, Brookline, Wellesley and more.