Volume 3, 2011
Luann D. Fortune
Essences of Somatic Awareness as Captured in a Verbally Directed Body Scan
A Phenomenological Case Study
Somatic awareness is bodily sensation imbued with consciousness. Directing and cultivating somatic awareness is a practice fundamental to many therapeutic and spiritual enterprises. Recent developments in neuroscience attempt to explain the operational aspects of somatic awareness. But it has long been a topic of conversation in other paradigms, from philosophy to health care. Somatic input provides information for use in wellness treatment applications, including therapeutic bodywork. Yet few massage therapy scholarly investigations aim to capture the quality of body awareness experience. The essence of the experience and its associated language remain imprecise and under-explored holistically.
This article implements the therapeutic practice technique of the Body Scan to capture the essence of an inner body exploration (proprioception and interoception). Based on a narrative collected during a verbally self-directed exercise, a phenomenological description is explicated to represent one incident
of internal body experience. The pilot study suggests that the Body Scan offers potential as a research tool, as well as a modality for therapeutic intervention.