Date of Award

8-31-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Toni Smith

Second Reader

Martha Eddy

Abstract

What is somatics? Somatics is the name given to the field of western mind-body methods, encompassing ways of working with the body that are therapeutic, educational, artistic, and physically expressive. This study analyzes philosophies of somatic movement educational methods to observe what scientific principles and processes ground somatic work. An extensive literature review investigates five historical pioneers of somatics and explores influences on somatic theory from the fields of somatic psychology, neuroscience, the human potential movement, physiology and human anatomy, and psychoneuroimmunology. Qualitative analysis studies from mind-body medicine and the somatics field are compared. Using an interdisciplinary theoretical approach, I attempted to bridge and consolidate ideas to explore the philosophical and scientific foundation of somatics as a field, focusing on the principles behind somatic educational methods. In this qualitative study I am looking for information that supports the hypothesis that somatics is a human science. Through this research I found somatic work to have a distinct, traceable history of evidence proving its efficacy.

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