Review of Systems

One common practice in meditation (at least from the few apps that I have learned from) is the body scan. You go through your body head to toe noticing any sensations that exist or arise, not necessarily doing anything about them, but just taking note and moving on. I always thought of it like one of the futuristic body scanners that you may see in movies which shoot of plane of light at your body and evaluate your health status slice by slice.

The body scan is often one of the first things I do when I start my meditation, and while I always thought it valuable, I also thought it was tedious and would kinda rush through because (1) it’s not like there’s that much going on with my body as I’m just sitting quietly and (2) I want to get to some of the juicier parts of the mediation, or just be done with the meditation all together.

Recently though I’ve been starting to think of the body scan as review of systems and physical exam like I would do with a patient, basically a primitive version of that futuristic laser scanner, checking in with myself from head to toe:

Any fevers, chills, headache, nausea? How’s my vision (even though my eyes are closed at the time)? Am I smelling and tasting ok? Are hearing and balance normal? Any issues swallowing? What about swelling/ lymphadenopathy? Any shortness of breath or difficulty breathing? How’s my heart doing? What about my tummy? Any pain or discomfort? Issues with peeing or pooping? How’s the strength in my arms and legs? Any swelling, tingling, or numbness? Etc. etc.

Going through it this way as actually made it the body scan a lot more engaging (though perhaps overly thorough) and is also a nice way to review some of this stuff for myself.


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