Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner


  • Makiko Ito
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_423


Psychosomatic is defined as one involving or depending on both the mind and the body as mutually dependent entities.

The term has been used to refer to the following:
  1. 1.

    Physical disorders, those caused or aggravated by psychological factors and, less often, to mental disorders caused or aggravated by physical factors

  2. 2.

    The branch of medicine concerned with the mind-body relations

  3. 3.

    The field of study, one sometimes designated “psychosomatics,” concerned with the relationship between mind and body



It is said that the foundation for psychosomatic movement was laid 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece.

In the fifth century BC, Hippocratic principles emphasized what we consider to be some of the basic tenets of psychosomatic medicine: concern about the relationship between the physician and the patient and about importance of the environment and of the adaptive factors in health and disease.

Francis Bacon advocated investigation of the mental faculties and of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Kannel, W. B., & Eaker, E. D. (1986). Psychosocial and other features of coronary heart disease: Insight from Framingham study. American Heart Journal, 112(5), 1066–1073.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lipowski, Z. J. (1984). What does the word “Psychosomatic” Really mean? A historical and semantic inquiry. Psychosomatic Medicine, 46(2), 153–171.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Schwab, J. J. (1985). Psychosomatic medicine: Its past and present. Psychosomatics, 26(7), 583–593.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Stress Science and Psychosomatic MedicineGraduate School of Medicine, The University of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan