The MBSR Body Scan in Clinical Practice

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The body scan is a somatically oriented, attention-focusing practice first introduced into clinical practice as part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The body scan, in effect, provides the pedagogical basis of all the practices introduced later within both the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and MBCT programs. The body scan is normally conducted lying supine on a floor or mat, comparable to the Savasana pose in Yoga. Savasana is treated in yogic texts as a particularly challenging pose. The body scan encourages awareness and acceptance of inner states, whether positive, negative or neutral. It is a unique practice, differing from most somatic-based clinical techniques because of its consistent emphasis on awareness in the present, rather than on future (or even immediate) change. Although largely overlooked in research, it has been a central feature of mindfulness-based practices for many years. The time has arrived for researchers and clinicians to consider seriously the unique contribution of the body scan in both MBSR and clinical practice.

Original Citation

Dreeben, S. J., Mamberg, M. H., & Salmon, P. (2013). The MBSR Body Scan in Clinical Practice. Mindfulness, 4(4), 394-401. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0212-z