Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor:
Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA;
Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia
Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.
What is psychosomatic medicine? Why is this textbook of more than 1000
pages necessary? The book’s raison d’être should be considered
in the context of the evolution of the field and the relevance of psychosomatic
concepts to everyday medical practice.
The word psychosomatic was introduced in 1818
by Johann Heinroth; a century later Felix Deutsch introduced the term psychosomatic medicine.1 The
term psychosomatic has often been used to imply illness
that is caused or worsened by psychological factors. At one time, some thought
that psychosomatic medicine held the promise of explaining causes of perplexing
illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and hypertension. This proved
not to be the case, and for many years psychosomatic concepts seemed less
relevant to clinical medicine.
Swenson JR. Psychosomatic Medicine. JAMA. 2005;293(19):2414-2418. doi:10.1001/jama.293.19.2416