Body Awareness: a phenomenological inquiry into the common ground of mind-body therapies.

Author: Mehling WE, Wrubel J, Daubenmier J, Price CJ, Kerr CE, Silow T, Gopisetty V, Stewart AL
Conference/Journal: Philos Ethics Humanit Med.
Date published: 2011 Apr 7
Other: Volume ID: 6 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 6 , Word Count: 197

Enhancing body awareness has been described as a key
element or a mechanism of action for therapeutic approaches often
categorized as mind-body approaches, such as yoga, TaiChi, Body-Oriented
Psychotherapy, Body Awareness Therapy, mindfulness based therapies/
meditation, Feldenkrais, Alexander Method, Breath Therapy and others
with reported benefits for a variety of health conditions. To better
understand the conceptualization of body awareness in mind-body
therapies, leading practitioners and teaching faculty of these
approaches were invited as well as their patients to participate in
focus groups. The qualitative analysis of these focus groups with
representative practitioners of body awareness practices, and the
perspectives of their patients, elucidated the common ground of their
understanding of body awareness. For them body awareness is an
inseparable aspect of embodied self awareness realized in action and
interaction with the environment and world. It is the awareness of
embodiment as an innate tendency of our organism for emergent
self-organization and wholeness. The process that patients undergo in
these therapies was seen as a progression towards greater unity between
body and self, very similar to the conceptualization of embodiment as
dialectic of body and self described by some philosophers as being
experienced in distinct developmental levels.