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Somatic Intelligence: understanding the mind-body connection

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

One of the several big questions posed to humanity concerns the relationship of the body and the mind – Are the body and mind distinct entities? Are they one and the same? Is one a product of the other’s doing? Or are they engaged in a reciprocal interaction resulting in life?

These, and many other questions regarding the mind-body relation have intrigued philosophers, physicians, biologists, and mental health practitioners for about as long as humankind has persisted on the planet. While the answers to these questions remain elusive to human inquiry, one foundational truth has been recognized since time immemorial – that the mind and the body share a deep and intrinsic interrelation.

This understanding of the reciprocal relationship of the brain and the body can be traced back to philosophers in ancient Greece – Plato was amongst the first to describe health as emerging from the harmony of the body and mind. Years of philosophical debate, everyday observation, scientific inquiry, and meticulous research have all led to the understanding that in the human body, everything biological is psychological, and everything psychological is biological. In fact, it is not entirely possible to separate the effects and pathways of the mind from that of the body.

What is Somatic Intelligence?

The concept of ‘Somatic Intelligence’, pioneered by Dr Peter Levine, is an addition to this long tradition of recognizing the power of the mind-body connection. It is founded on the hypothesis that the body is a storehouse of intelligence that is more primal and instinctual than our higher brain-based intellectual capabilities.