Welcome to the Embodiment and Healing Blog!

The Embodied Self

The Embodied Self

This blog is for anyone interested in viewing innate healing through a different lens; the lens of the Embodied Self. It is the companion site for my new book, Healing the Embodied Self, Understanding Our Innate Ability to Heal due out in June 2014. In my book, I present a new model of health, illness, and healing that challenges much that those of us raised under the authority of biomedicine take for granted about the nature of disease, healing, and the human organism. My model has grown out of the idea that healing is a product of embodiment, or how experience ‘gets under the skin’ and becomes a part of us as we develop as biocultural beings (as beings equally the products of nature and nurture, biology and culture). I use the term embodiment to refer to a universal human process; an organismal phenomenon in which our experiences of the worlds we live in constantly shape our anatomy and physiology. In this view, there is no such thing as ‘mind over matter’, ‘the placebo response’, ‘symbolic healing’, or the ethos of ‘mind-body dualism’ that underlies such notions. There is only embodiment and the self as the emergent, self-organizing principle of the human organism. The self emerges from embodiment and is the key to health, illness, and healing as embodied phenomena. This model justly undermines the biology-psychology divide that has traditionally supported the biomedical approach to disease. Through understanding the embodied self we can develop a truly holistic view of healing and the human organism.

Who Should Read This Blog?

This blog is for everyone, not just scientists and scholars conducting research related to health and healing. In fact, my greatest hope is that ordinary people will come here to develop a better understanding of their own ills and those of their loved ones. For example,

  • If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, this blog is for you.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with healing from breast cancer, this blog is for you.
  • If you have diabetes, you’ll find here a complex embodied approach to your own very complex pathology.
  • If you’ve been labeled a “hypochondriac” or told by your doctor that you have a “psychosomatic” illness, this blog is for you.
  • If you’re just someone who senses or believes that the biomedical model of health and healing is lacking something meaningful to you, this is where you need to be.

I want to reach regular, non-specialist people with the model of the embodied self, because I believe that it can truly help you better understand your ills, question the ‘truths’ and authority of biomedicine, and make informed decisions about the combination of treatments from which you have to choose.

That being said, anthropologists, medical historians, biomedical doctors, alternative health practitioners, and researchers in all fields related to health and healing will find much of use on this blog and in my book. I do take a critical approach to biomedicine and related research, such as the genetic basis of disease, but I also believe that well-designed, empirical research is essential and important. What I challenge is the unexamined cultural assumptions built into research endeavors and the biological ‘reality’ such assumptions perpetuate. I challenge other researchers to also take this reflexive approach to everything they take for granted about the human condition with the goal of producing studies that really help us make better sense of disease and healing than we have in the past.

What Kind of Info Can You Expect to Find Here?

In this blog, I view many areas of research through the lens of the embodied self, including medical research in general, genomics, epigenetics, neurology, cognition, pharmaceuticals, transplantation, alternative and complementary medicine, and non-Western, indigenous healing systems. I critically examine the biomedical trends of medicalization (creating diseases and disease-like states), psychologization (creating mental illnesses and disorders), and how these trends feed the pharmaceutical industry (and feed us drugs that are often unproven). As a cultural anthropologist, I view all diseases and disorders as culturally specific, rather than as universal entities displaying the same qualities, progression, and constellation of symptoms in every time and place. Even if you don’t like some of what I have to say, at the very least you can find here a useful, growing reservoir of the latest research related to health and healing across many disciplines.

To get an idea of the studies you’ll find in my research reservoir, please check out and subscribe to my online newspaper The Embodiment Weekly and/or my Flipboard Magazine about Embodiment & Healing:

The Embodiment Weekly

The Embodiment Weekly


View my Flipboard Magazine.



Please Follow Me, I Want to Hear From You!

Please subscribe to this blog, follow me on Twitter and check out my new book on Facebook. Please leave comments, your thoughts, and questions. I want to hear from you, so engage with me in my endeavor to make better sense of health, illness, and healing.


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