Lexicon of Body Sensations

Our bodies constantly communicate with us. I’m thirsty, hungry, hot, tired, or in pain.  Sometimes the signals are incredibly obvious or it can be subtle messages.  We may be consciously aware of them or we may not notice them at all.


A sensation is a physical feeling in the body.  Sensation language describes physical feelings using words based on the five senses (i.e., taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight). It’s important not to mix up sensations with emotions.  While emotions do have accompanying sensations, the emotions are not sensations: there is a distinct difference. Sensations can be defined as physical feelings and responses and emotions are states of consciousness.

To become aware of pleasant and unpleasant body sensations, find words to describe them and allow the blocked energy inside our bodies to move.

At some point there was an interruption that never allowed it to move through our system and out. It is stuck.  As we identify our different body sensations and develop our vocabulary, we begin to unlock what has been unable to move through.

Physical Perceptions

Take a pause and check in with yourself right now, and notice what’s happening in your body. Are you sitting or standing? If sitting, is it a comfortable chair that you can feel against your legs and back? Is it soft or hard? Can you lean back? Do your feet touch the floor?

If you’re standing just notice the floor or ground beneath your feet and notice how your legs feel as you are standing there. Maybe you’re thirsty, hungry or tired and weren’t even aware until you started to pay attention to your body.

What we feel in our bodies can lead to many thoughts, feelings, and even behaviors. You probably don’t have any meaningful thoughts and feelings about sitting in a chair however; there are many other situations where the opposite is true.


To clarify I want you to think about fear.  Fear is an emotion that for some can come wrapped up with the sensations of constriction in the chest, tightness and pressure in the throat and fluttering or trembling in the belly or legs.  A simple way to remember, sensations use words based on the five senses to describe whatever you’re experiencing in your body.

Wisdom of the Body

You can learn to become more aware of your body sensations and develop a language to describe them.  You begin to recognize sensations that are a signal announcing a trigger, reaction, numbing out, something that overwhelms your system.

In time you can begin to be aware of situations that bring the onset of the emotions or beliefs that the system cannot handle or doesn’t have a reference point for. A first step might be simply to start to notice body sensations.

List of Sensations

Achy  airy  alive

Blocked  brittle  bubbly  burning  buzzy

Congested  cool

Dense  dizzy  dull

Electric  empty  energized  expanding

Fluid  frantic  frozen  full


Hard  heavy  hot

Icy  intense

Jagged  jittery


Light  loose

Moist  moving

Nauseous  numb


Paralyzed  pounding  pressure  prickly  pulled  pulsing

Quaking quiet quivering

Radiating  ragged  raw

Shaky  sharp  shivery  soft  spacious  spinning  sticky  still  strong  suffocating 

Tender  tense  thick  throbbing  tight  tingling  tremble


Warm  wobbly


Repatterning Early Imprints and Reclaim Your Life…  Inspiring Change through Empowerment… bringing balance to the body, mind and spirit

Karen Johnson | 416.732.2661

hello@karenjohnsoninneralchemy.com  awakeningheartandsoul.com

Energy and Shamanic Healer | Somatic Experiencing  | Trauma PTSD Therapist | Family Constellation |Inner Alchemy Toronto

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