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Describing Body Sensations

In sensorimotor therapy, and in any therapy session, you'll probably hear me ask you what you're feeling in your body. This is not only to encourage you to listen to the innate wisdom of your body, but to allow us to gain access to what needs to be felt, to be heard, to be let go of or called in. But sometimes words fall short in trying to describe what's happening within. Here's a starter list of the the most common words to describe body sensations during sensorimotor therapy:

  1. Tension: Feeling tightness or constriction in muscles.

  2. Warmth: A sensation of heat.

  3. Tingling: A subtle, prickling feeling that can arise in various parts of the body.

  4. Numbness: A lack of sensation in certain body areas.

  5. Fluttering: A delicate, fluttery feeling in the stomach or chest, or elsewhere in the body.

  6. Expansion: A sense of spaciousness or stretching.

  7. Constriction: A feeling of tightness or holding back.

  8. Weightlessness: A sensation of lightness, as if the body is floating or untethered.

  9. Coldness: A chilling feeling in the body.

  10. Pulsing: A rhythmic sensation.

  11. Ache: A dull, persistent discomfort in specific body areas.

  12. Release: A sense of letting go or unburdening.

  13. Buzzing: A subtle, vibrating sensation.

  14. Contraction: A tightening or pulling inwards, similar to bracing.

  15. Lightness: A feeling of weightlessness or buoyancy.

  16. Heaviness: A sense of weight or burden.

  17. Softness: A gentle, tender feeling in the body.

  18. Flowing: A sense of fluidity and movement within the body.

And here is a more comprehensive list of body sensations:


Achy

Airy

Alive

Bloated

Blocked

Breathless

Brittle

Bubbly

Burning

Buzzing

Chilled

Clammy

Closed

Cold

Congested

Constricted

Contracted

Cool

Cozy

Cramped

Dense

Dizzy

Dull

Elastic

Electric

Empty

Energized

Expanding

Faint

Fluid

Flushed

Fluttery

Frantic

Frozen

Full

Fuzzy

Goosebumpy

Gurgling

Hard

Heavy

Hot

Icy

Intense

Itchy

Jagged

Jittery

Jumbly

Jumpy

Knotted

Limp

Loose

Nauseous

Numb

Open

Paralyzed

Pounding

Pressure

Prickly

Puffy

Pulled

Pulsing

Quaking

Quiet

Quivering

Radiating

Ragged

Raw

Rolling

Shaky

Sharp

Shimmering

Shivery

Shudder

Silky

Smooth

Soft

Spacious

Spasming

Sticky

Still

Stretchy

Stringy

Strong

Suffocating

Sweaty

Tender

Tense

Thick

Throbbing

Tickly

Tight

Tingling

Trembling

Twitchy

Vibration

Warm

Weak

Wobbly


The body can become a canvas upon which emotions are expressed and insights are discovered. Learning the language of the body is a practice in mindfulness and present-moment awareness. See how much and how often you can pay attention to these sensations inside and outside of therapy.

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