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The term somatic refers to the body, as distinct from some other entity, such as the mind. The word comes from the Greek word Σωματικóς (Somatikòs), meaning "of the body". It has different meanings in various disciplines.

In neurobiology, somatic can be an adjective referring to the soma, the part of the neuron containing the cell nucleus.

In anatomy, somatic can refer to the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary movement and sensation and judges relative effort and weight, called proprioception. Additionally, somatic muscles are basically those of the musculo-skeletal system.[1]

In genetics, somatic can refer to a cell or tissue that resides outside the germline. For example, a somatic mutation cannot be transmitted to descendants in animals.

In psychotherapy, somatic refers to the interconnection between the body and the mind -- and the way in which physiological states may impact emotional well-being and vice versa.[2]

In the philosophy of education, certain ideas that have to do with the body and the mind have been called somatics. According to the originator of this usage of the term, "somatic awareness allows a person to glean wisdom from within".[3] The usage of somatic as put forth by Thomas Hanna implies a truly integrated mind/body/spirit nature of humans. Thus far, the popular usage of this term has not fully realized this meaning, and a mind-body dualism still often occurs in disciplines describing themselves as somatic.

Related terms

Soma is the whole axial portion of an animal, including the head, neck, trunk, and tail; also "corporeal, pertaining to a body." The term's origin is NL, from the Greek for "body".[1]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Websters Dictionary
  2. "What is Somatic Psychotherapy?" retrieved from [1] February 23, 2020
  3. Hanna, Thomas. 1986. "What is Somatic?" Somatics. 5 (4), 4–9

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