Health Benefits of Radix Therapy: A Somatic Therapy Based on Work by Reich and Kelley

About Radix

Radix is a type of somatic therapy or body psychotherapy which follows the principle of mind/body unity. It is based on the work of Wilhelm Reich and modified by Charles Kelley. The word "radix" comes from the Latin meaning "root" or "source" and refers to the life energy flowing through the body and unifying body, mind and spirit.

Reich determined that people’s problems arose from disturbances in this energy flow, and described the chronic muscular and emotional tightness that results as "armour". He divided the body into seven segments similar to the chakras, each with their own pattern of armour. This armour is created beginning in childhood and leads to unconscious blocking of natural physical and emotional responses.

Anger, pain and fear are the main types of blocks, and a therapist may begin by identifying the client’s primary characteristic by observing the body and interacting with the client.

Radix work combines verbal, touch, and breath work to relax and open the segments and release blocked feelings. Individual sessions are typically an hour long and the cost varies based on location, the therapist’s level of experience, and other factors. Expect to pay $50-$150 per hour for an individual session. Radix work is also accomplished in small group settings, either in addition to or instead of individual sessions.

Benefits of Radix

Scientific research on the efficacy of Radix is quite limited. According to one literature review, 15 of 20 studies that evaluated results found positive benefits, and 5 studies found no effects. Benefits included "improved life satisfaction, improved attitudes towards self and others, improved attitudes towards one’s body, improved locus of control (not being so controlled by what others think), improved sexual functioning, reduced signs of physiological arousal, decreased anxiety, and improved relationships" (May, 1998). Another study found that even clients who remained in therapy 6 months or less were satisfied with the results.

According to the Kelley-Radix organization, this type of work is for a "healthy, sound person searching to grow, to become more alive, to develop in character, to achieve more of his or her human potential." It is not expected to address specific symptoms, in fact one study of a very small group involved in group therapy reported mixed results regarding the impact on clinical symptoms.

So what can you expect from Radix therapy? Reported physical benefits include improved posture, increased lung capacity, release of muscle toxins, and decreased pain and tension. Mind/body benefits include experiencing, releasing and integrating feelings, improving self-esteem and self-confidence, and being able to stay present and "feel alive".

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Sources & Resources

Radix Institute

What Scientific Research Says About Body Psychotherapy

Kelley-Radix

Armorless Body Therapies