Psychosomatic Physiotherapy

A Different perspective on unexplained physical symptoms

In the Netherlands and many places around the world, millions of people live with physical symptoms for which no cause is found. Think, for example, of long-lasting or regularly recurring pain in the head, back, neck, abdomen, shoulders, or joints, ringing in the ears, loss of strength, balance disorders, or chronic infections. When doctors cannot find a medical cause, such complaints are also referred to as Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms (MUPS).

Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS)

The core of these symptoms is that unconscious, repressed emotions are the main cause of the onset and perpetuation of medically unexplained physical symptoms. Bringing these repressed emotions to consciousness, feeling, and processing them leads to recovery. This ideology is based on recent insights from (neuro)scientific research, often from America, the knowledge and experience of doctors and healthcare professionals, and numerous successful recovery stories from former patients.


The influence of emotions on short-term manifestations in our bodies is recognized by everyone. Nerves before a difficult exam? Or think about that colleague with neck and shoulder pain whom you know has many problems at home. Perhaps he’s taking on too much? These are examples of emotional stress manifesting as a physical complaint. Fortunately, such complaints often resolve on their own.


The influence of (unconscious) emotions in the long term is often not recognized.

If physical complaints do not go away and no explanation is found by doctors, what is going on? Repressed emotions may then play a role. These can be emotions that are unconsciously suppressed. Often, an (unprocessed) emotional charge from the past plays a role. These (unconscious) emotions can cause a disruption in the body and thus lead to persistent physical complaints. The (pain) complaints can be mild or very severe. People may frequently miss school or work or even become occupationally disabled. Sometimes complaints are labeled, for example, whiplash, fibromyalgia, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, or RSI, but sometimes not, and the physical complaints remain unnamed.


Scientific research and numerous successful patient experiences show that there are possibilities for recovery.



Treatment may include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Exercise therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Massage techniques
  • Providing insight into symptoms


Paul de Ruiter is the psychosomatic physiotherapist at Fysiotherapie Medi-Mere.


Paul de Ruiter

Share this page:

Skip to content