Healing bodies: Contemporary spirituality, practice and therapeutic landscapes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


In response to the reductionist accounts of contemporary non-religious spiritual practices as simply a by-product of post-modern consumerism, geographers have recently stressed the need to take such practices seriously. This paper heeds this call by focusing on a particular aspect of modern spirituality, namely its culture of healing. More specifically, it examines the central role that that cultivation of bodies' affective capacities and awareness by healing practitioners plays in the re-making of the everyday as a site of the spiritual. The paper draws empirically on interviews with a variety of healers as well as ethnographic observations in spiritual-cum-healing community in Boulder, Colorado. In the first part I investigate the importance of healers' expansive sensitization to the bodily, and how it comes into being through their continuous professional engagement with new modalities of healing, and through their everyday lives as a body-centered practice. While such 'bodying' is considered necessary for a re-conditioning away from both mind-scaping and futuredness of one's self, it very much relies on and enacts a deeply inter-relational and open understanding of subjectivity. Thus in the second part of the paper I turn to the ways in which healer's bodily capacities emerge with and through other objects and bodies located in disparate places, thus landscaping a healing space. I argue that close attention to contemporary spiritually-orientated healing practices helps us reconceptualize therapeutic and spiritual landscapes - traditionally relying on impoverished conceptions of body – as dynamic and relational emergences effectuated quite literally in and through the bodily
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAnnual : Meeting of American Geographers - Tampa, Florida, United States
Duration: 8 Apr 201412 Apr 2014


CountryUnited States
CityTampa, Florida
Internet address

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