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Bodymind is an approach to understand the relationship between the human body and mind in which they are seen as a single integrated unit. It attempts to address the mind–body problem and resists the Western traditions of mind–body dualism and dualism. The term bodymind is also typically seen and encountered in disability studies, referring to the intricate and often times inseparable relationship between the body and the mind, and how these two units might act as one. The field of psychosomatic medicine investigates this concept.

Relevance to alternative medicineEdit

In the field of alternative medicine, bodymind implies that

  • The body, mind, emotions, and spirit are dynamically interrelated.[1]
  • Experience, including physical stress, emotional injury, and pleasures are stored in the body's cells which in turn affects one's reactions to stimuli.[2]

The term can be a number of disciplines, including:

The term overlaps in significant ways, especially in its anti-dualist intention, with the philosophical term mindbody developed independently by philosopher William H. Poteat.

Relevance to disability studiesEdit

The term bodymind is most generally used in the academic field of disability studies. Disability scholars use the term bodymind to emphasize the interdependence and inseparability of the body and mind.

Prominent scholars who have written academically about the bodymind include Eli Clare, Margaret Price, Sami Schalk, Alyson Patsavas, and Alison Kafer. Clare and Price have proposed that the bodymind expresses the interrelatedness of mental and physical processes, and Schalk defines the boydmind similarly as it pertains to disability and race.

One of the first scholars to popularize the concept of bodymind is Eli Clare, a writer and activist for queer and disability studies. Clare uses bodymind in his work Brilliant Imperfection as a way to resist common Western assumptions that the body and mind are separate entities, or that the mind is “superior” to the body.[15] Similarly, scholar Margaret Price writes that the combination of ‘body’ and ‘mind’ in one term acknowledges that “mental and physical processes not only affect each other but also give rise to each other—that is, because they tend to act as one, even though they are conventionally understood as two”.[16]

Scholar Sami Schalk in her work Bodyminds Reimagined uses the term bodymind to recognize that “processes within our being impact one another in such a way that the notion of a physical versus mental process is difficult, if not impossible to clearly discern in most cases”.[17] Schalk emphasizes the utility of the term bodymind as it relates to disability and race. In analyzing histories of race, gender, and disability, Schalk notes that it is important to recognize the non-physical impact of various oppressions. For Schalk, the term bodymind highlights the “psychic stress” of oppression.[17] In relation to transgenerational trauma in people of color, bodymind is used to show how the psychological toll of oppression and its resulting stress has lasting mental and physical manifestations.

The connection between the body and mind is not merely theoretical; for example, the interrelation between mental and physical health is explored in the field of psychosomatic medicine, which investigates bodily processes in relation to social and psychological factors. For example, the psychiatric condition major depressive disorder often manifests physically in the forms of excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, back pain, and headaches.[18]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Benson MD, Herbert; ( 2000) (1975), The Relaxation Response, Harper ISBN 0-380-81595-8
  • Bracken, Patrick & Philip Thomas; (2002), "Time to move beyond the mind-body split", editorial, British Medical Journal 2002;325:1433-1434 (21 December)
  • Dychtwald, Ken; (1986), Bodymind Penguin Putman Inc. NY, ISBN 0-87477-375-X
  • Gallagher, Shaun; (2005) ‚ How the Body Shapes the Mind Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-920416-0
  • Hill, Daniel (2015) Affect Regulation Theory. A Clinical Model W. W. Norton.& Co ISBN 978-0-393-70726-7.
  • Keinänen, Matti; (2005), Psychosemiosis as a Key to Body-Mind Continuum: The Reinforcement of Symbolization-Reflectiveness in Psychotherapy. Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 1-59454-381-X.
  • Mayer, Emeran A. 2003. The Neurobiology Basis of Mind Body Medicine: Convergent Traditional and Scientific Approaches to Health, Disease, and Healing. Source: (accessed: Sunday January 14, 2007).
  • Money, John; (1988) Gay, Straight, and In-Between: The Sexology of Erotic Orientation. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505407-5
  • Rothschild, Babette; ( 2000) The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. W W Norton & Co Inc.
  • Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Margaret M. Lock; (1987) The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology with Margaret Lock. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. (1): 6-41.
  • Seem, Mark & Kaplan, Joan; (1987) Bodymind Energetics, Towards a Dynamic Model of Health Healing Arts Press, Rochester VT, ISBN 0-89281-246-X
  • Clare, Eli. "Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure"
  • Schalk, Sami. "Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction"
  • Patsavas, Alyson. “Recovering a Cripistemology of Pain: Leaky Bodies, Connective Tissue, and Feeling Discourse”
  • Price, Margaret. "The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain”
  • Kafer, Alison. "Feminist, Queer, Crip"
  • Hall, Kim. "Gender" chapter from "Keywords for Disability Studies".[19]
  • McRuer, Robert, and Johnson, Merri Lisa. "Proliferating Cripistemologies: A Virtual Roundtable".[20]
  • Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature".[21]
  • Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. "Becoming Disabled".[22]


  1. ^ Damasio, Antonio (2000). The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0156010757.
  2. ^ Keleman, Stanley: Your Body speaks its Mind, Center Press (US) (1989) ISBN 978-0934320016
  3. ^ Michael Irwin, Kavita Vedhara (2005). Human Psychoneuroimmunology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-856884-1.
  4. ^ Totton, N. (2003) Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-21038-4 (pb); 0-335-21039-2.
  5. ^ Staunton, T. (Ed.) (2002) Body Psychotherapy Brunner Routledge. ISBN 1-58391-115-4 PB0; 1-58391-116-2 (pb)
  6. ^ Macnaughton, I. (2004) Body, Breath and Consciousness: A Somatics Anthology, ed. Macnaughton, North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-55643-496-0 ISBN 978-1-55643-496-9
  7. ^ Courtenay Young (2010) article The Science of Body Psychotherapy Today
  8. ^ Sharf, R. S. (2011) Theories of Psychotherapy and Counselling p. 600
  9. ^ Hill, Daniel (2015) Affect Regulation Theory. A Clinical Model W. W. Norton.& Co ISBN 978-0-393-70726-7
  10. ^ Levenson, James L. (2006). Essentials of Psychosomatic Medicine. American Psychiatric Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-58562-246-7.
  11. ^ Ziehl, Silke. "Jack Painter - Obituary" (PDF).
  12. ^ Erken, Rita and Schlage, Bernhard: Editors: Transformation of the Self with Bodymind Integration. Postural Integration – Energetic Integration – Psychotherapeutic Postural Integration; Articles by 14 international authors; Hubert W. Holzinger Verlag, Berlin (2012) ISBN 978-3-926396-67-9
  13. ^ Painter, Jack: Postural Integration, Transformation of the Whole Self (1985)
  14. ^ Painter, Jack: Technical Manual of Deep Wholistic Bodywork, Postural Integration; published by The International Centre for Release and Integration, Mill Valley, Calif. USA (1984) (2nd edit. 1990)
  15. ^ Clare, Eli (2017). Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 9780822362760.
  16. ^ Price, Margaret (2014). "The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain". Hypatia. 30 (1): 268–284. doi:10.1111/hypa.12127.
  17. ^ a b Schalk, Samantha Dawn (2018). Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 269, 5. ISBN 9780822370734.
  18. ^ "Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms and causes". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  19. ^ Hall, Kim (2015). Keywords for Disability Studies. NYU Press. pp. 89–91. ISBN 9781479839520.
  20. ^ McRuer, Robert; Johnson, Merri (2014). "Proliferating Cripistemologies: A Virtual Roundtable". Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies. 8 (2): 149–170. doi:10.3828/jlcds.2014.13. ISSN 1757-6458.
  21. ^ Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie (1996). Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231105170.
  22. ^ Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie (2016-08-19). "Opinion | Becoming Disabled". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-25.