Typically, there are three categories: aches and pains, where “stress” shows up in your body and other symptoms. People either use a prepared outline or draw the figures. For the latter, the instructions are basically:
1. In your group, use a black or brown marker to draw the front and back of a body, using one flip chart for each; label them front and back.
2. Use the coloured markers to keep track of each question.
Where do you have aches and pains? (whether they work-related or not)
Where does stress show up in your body?
What other symptoms do you have? (e.g. rashes, respiratory symptoms, allergies, cuts, burns)
3. There should be one mark for each spot for each person (i.e. if three people have right shoulder problems, there should be three red dots on the right shoulder).
4. What do you see? What’s missing? (This gets at longer-term or chronic effects, including cancer, reproductive effects, lung and other diseases.)
Asked that question in a workshop about “stress”, education workers produced evocative drawings. One used it to describe how she felt pulled apart by various things. (See at left) In a session with construction workers, one used a broken heart to indicate how he ended up divorced, connected to his job.
The Hazards group has more information about “Your world” mapping here.
Body maps can be used in many ways.
In another setting — a workshop about ergonomics for construction workers — the group used a prepared body map to mark their aches and pains. The added layer of black dots showed the results of a study of 96,000 Swedish construction workers, adjusted for a group of 25. Dots were divided evenly for the left and right. It showed the workers that their symptoms were not unique; they were typical of people doing that kind of work.
First, they used a coloured dot for each spot where they were first hurt. (There were different colours for men and women.) Each person had a number, which went on the dot. The same number was put on another set of dots that answered the question: Where do you have pain now?
Asked what he saw, the worker said that, for the first time, he saw that he (and others) had chronic pain, and he had to do something about it.