Camilla Griggers, PhD is a cultural theorist of the mindbody paradigm and a somatic-emotional therapist. She blogs as The Healist, and is author of several self-help books on sustainable health and wellbeing.
Bridging the body/mind divide, Camilla is a proponent of systemic and integrative approaches to health and learning. She is a wellness educator who teaches the body and mind without separation. A bodyworker who helps people process their emotions and observe their thoughts. A meditation instructor who teaches liver/colon detox and gutbrain health. And a somatic therapist who talks to the mind and touches the embodied emotions. She’s also a feminist cultural critic who advocates for mindbody integration in medicine, therapy and education.
In her writing, personal sessions, and through teaching, Camilla invites people to become healists—people who change habitual thoughts, emotions and behaviors that cause chronic illness and distress, transforming them into adaptive bodymindsets that are personally and collectively healthy and sustainable.
You can read Camilla’s writings on somatic-emotional therapy and mindbody integration in Semiotica, Somatics, and The Handbook of Body Psychotherapy and Somatic Psychology. She is author of Becoming-Woman and co-director of the film Memories of a Forgotten War. As The Healist, she's written books on holistic health topics ranging from bodymind detox to mouthbody care to body psychology. Her latest book is Change Your Bodymindset: The Body Psychology of Chronic Illness.
Enormous changes at the last minute.
As a young professor teaching feminist cultural and media studies at Carnegie Mellon University, I tripped down a rabbit hole into ill health when a conventional dentist drilled a cracked mercury amalgam filling that a family dentist had put in my tooth when I was a teen. Mercury vaporizes when drilled, exposing me to neurotoxic mercury vapor. I had no idea at that moment how much my life had just changed.
Falling in a downward spiral, for a moment in time I thought I was crazy, but when I later landed in the hospital with an ovarian tumor, I surrendered to the reality that I wasn't crazy, I was ill. Over the next few years, I discovered I suffered a variety of chronic conditions, including hypothyroidism, adrenal exhaustion, metabolic inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, congested toxic liver and kidneys, blood sugar dysregulation, weakened immunity, not to mention brain fog and a mercury toxicity score almost off the chart of a heavy metal test.
Survival instinct kicked in. Like Ulysses sailing far away from home, I ventured beyond the world of the university to embark on a decade-long search for a more holistic education I seemed to be missing—one that integrated mind, body and emotions equally. I trained as a bodyworker to learn the basics about my own physical being, and then decided to walk the healing path with mindbody pioneer Ilana Rubenfeld, inventor of the Rubenfeld Synergy Method®, a hands-on method of somatic-emotional therapy and education. I later practiced body electronics with Dr. Doug Morrison, and trained in Vedic Meditation and Ayurveda with Dr. Deepak Chopra. Along the way, I finally found several oral-systemic dentists who understood the mouthbody connection, who used minimally invasive, mercury-free and holistic dentistry, and who radically changed my health. I later learned mercury detox with chemist Dr. Christopher Shade, and dove deep into power yoga. I also journeyed on sacred plant medicine with a community of urban shaman. On all my journeys, the feminist cultural theorist in me has been mapping the social causes of our collective illness and the body psychology of our chronic lack of wellbeing. In order to better understand what we really need to heal.
I believe in the quantum universe, mind, body and emotions are one. I believe that chronic illnesses can be prevented, and that self-care is the first and best health care. I believe self-care literacy can be taught as easily as computer literacy. I believe healing starts with the awareness that something needs to change, and that the change we need can only come from within. And I believe we need a lot more emotional honesty and critical thinking about the social causes of our chronic ill health.