Is psychosomatic really a bicentennial word? The proof of an older use
Background and aim. Psychosomatic medicine has different statuses in different countries and many physicians perceive it under various points of view. However, a common belief is that the father of the word psychosomatic is the German physician Johann Heinroth and that the word was coined in 1818. We looked for the history of the word psychosomatic to find out if this information is correct or not.
Methods. The available literature was searched online and manually. We recorded available information and looked for other pertinent mentions of this word before 1818.
Results. Although it is considered that the word psychosomatic is 200 years old, we found evidence that it had been used also in advance. Thus, the history of psychosomatic medicine is even longer. Here is the first report of a scientific work older than 1818. It is a PhD thesis published in Montpellier in 1784 by Marc Lemort Demétigny.
Conclusions. The general belief is that the first use of the word psychosomatic happened 200 years ago. We found evidence that the word has an older usage.