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This article is about the New Age term. For the Buddhist term, see Bodymind (in meditation traditions).

Bodymind is a concept that the physical body and the mind should be thought of as a single integrated unit.

Interrelated concepts[edit]

Further information: Psychoneuroimmunology

The present day understanding of bodymind both in a psychological, therapeutic as well as in a medical sense is that:

  • The body, mind, emotions and spirit are dynamically interrelated.[1]
  • Each time a change is introduced at one level, it has a ripple effect throughout the entire system.

Bodymind therapy combines the strengths of "talk" therapy with bodywork, such as touch, postural alignment, or movement education and exercise with psychotherapy (that is, including verbal dialog, psychodrama, role play, narrative storytelling etc.) by inducing the use of ‘affectregulation’. It claims to address the "emotional intelligence" of the right hemisphere which is understood to be more closely related to the body, the heart and the autonomic nervous system then the left hemisphere (see Alan Schore’s work [2]).

Other unified concepts[edit]

Painter became increasingly interested in integrating influences and aspects from different approaches into an effective and coherent method of personal growth, self-development and healing, stating however that "the form of bodywork which I created is not an eclectic combination of techniques I experienced or learned—it is a singular approach to the whole person".[3]

John Money developed a conception of 'bodymind' as a way for scientists, in developing a science about sexuality, to move on from the platitudes of dichotomy between nature versus nurture, innate versus acquired, biological versus social, and psychological versus physiological,[4]

Money suggests that the concept of threshold—relating to the release or inhibition of sexual behavior—is most useful for sex research as a substitute for any concept of motivation.[5] It confers a great of advantage of continuity and unity, to what would otherwise be disparate and varied. It also allows for the classification of sexual behaviors. For Money, the concept of threshold has great value because of the wide spectrum to which it applies. "It allows one to think developmentally or longitudinally, in terms of stages or experiences that are programmed serially, or hierarchically, or cybernetically (i.e. regulated by mutual feedback)."[6]

Anthropologists Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret M. Lock have developed a concept of bodymind for medical anthropology to provide a basis for research that is not limited by the view that the body and mind are distinct from one another.[7]

The term overlaps in significant ways, especially in its anti-dualist intention, with the philosophical term mindbody developed independently by American philosopher William H. Poteat in the last several decades of the twentieth century.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Antonio R. Damasio: "I feel, therefore I am.": The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (1999)
  2. ^ Schore, Alan N.: Affect regulation and the origin of the self, The neurobiology of emotional development (1994), Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. ISBN 0-8058-3459-1
  3. ^ Painter, Jack: Technical Manual of Deep Wholistic Bodywork, Postural Integration, p.14; published by
    The International Centre for Release and Integration, Mill Valley, Calif. USA (1984)
  4. ^ Money 1988, p. 116
  5. ^ Money 1988, p. 115
  6. ^ Money 1988, p. 116
  7. ^ Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Margaret M. Lock, The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology
  8. ^ Poteat's fullest account of the "mindbody" is given in Polanyian Meditations: In Search of a Post-Critical Logic (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1985). See references to "Mindbody" in the index of that book. For good secondary overviews of Poteat's conception, see Walter B. Mead, "William Poteat’s Anthropology: 'Mindbody In The World,'" Tradition and Discovery 21:1 (1994-95), 33-44; and an even fuller account by the same author, “William H. Poteat’s Anthropology: Mindbody in the World,” The Political Science Reviewer 27 (1998), pp. 267-344.