Radix Institute



Radix® is a powerful form of personal development work and body psychotherapy that was originally developed by Dr. Charles Kelley, based upon the work of Wilhelm Reich. Radix theory has been further developed in the last two decades to incorporate theories based on research in the fields of object relations, human development, interpersonal attachment styles, and neurobiology.  Radix is an approach to personal growth and improved mental and physical health that is:

holistic ~ based on the principles of mind-body unity

body-centered ~ working directly with the body through
movement and attention to breath, body sensation and
awareness, energy flow and other non-verbal as well as verbal

experiential ~ ‘here and now’ engaging in your process

client centered – based on the unique needs of each client

The term “radix” comes from the Latin word meaning “root” or “source,” referring to that force which gives rise to all movement, feeling and growth in a person and in life. It is the life force…chi…prana…that unites body, mind, emotions and spirit.

The Radix Institute is a teaching organization that trains and certifies people to do Radix work. The Institute also provides continuing education for professionals in the helping field, and offers experiential workshops to people interested in body-centered personal growth. The Radix Institute maintains a referral list of Certified Radix Practitioners licensed by The Radix Institute to practice Radix work according to the Standards and Ethics of The Radix Institute, and provides continuing education and other professional services to its members.

The Radix institute also maintains this website, including the legacy of Charles and Erica Kelly, the influences on their work, and those who made major contributions following their work.  There is a list of publications by Charles Kelley, many of which are available as pdf downloads [link to pubs]

The Radix Institute is a nonprofit organization. As a 501(c)3,donations to the Radix institute are tax deductible. We welcome donations which can be used for purposes such as trainee scholarships, research, website maintenance and development, marketing to promote Radix work and The Radix Institute, publishing costs, workshops and conferences. If you are interested in making a donation to The Radix Institute, click the donate button to send your donation by PayPal or credit card:


The Radix Institute is a humanistic, somatically-oriented training organization. The word “radix” is a latin word meaning ‘root’ or “source,” and is used by a variety of institutions and companies in engineering, mathematics, music, etc. The Radix Institute uses the word  to refer to the fundamental energy that unites body, mind and spirit, and has copyrighted its use in the United States, Canada and Australia in a personal growth context. The theories, practices and publications of The Radix Institute have nothing in common with, and are, in fact, antithetically opposed to, the racist, anti-semitic and bigoted viewpoints and publications of some people who, unfortunately, have appropriated and currently use the term “radix.”

Freeing the Feelings, Dr. Charles Kelley

Reich approached the loosening of the muscular armor structurally. He observed the armor to be arranged in seven somewhat discrete body segments: 1) ocular, 2) oral, 3) cervical, 4) thoracic, 5) diaphragmatic, 6) abdominal, and 7) pelvic. The armor forms lateral patterns of tension in each segment which interfere with the normal longitudinal flow of the life force. A specific longitudinal flow underlies each of the deeper feelings. Reich found that the armor should be loosened systematically from the top down. Problems arose when the armor segments closest to the body core were worked on before the upper segments had been freed (Reich, 1949).

We have found Reich’s segmental concept of the armor an invaluable tool. In Radix body work we, like Reich, work “top-down” or, more accurately, “outside in,” beginning our work not only at the eyes, but at hands and feet as well. Eyes, hands, and feet are the three most important areas of contact with external reality. We want students doing feeling work to have their “eyes open,” have their “feet on the ground,” and have a “firm grip on reality.” These are not mere metaphors, but refer to the radix flow in the body that moves from the body core toward the world around. The structural approach to us means freeing patterns of armor starting with eyes, hands, and feet, and working toward the core. This involves freeing the head and neck, feet and legs, hands, arms and shoulders before the trunk, in general but not strict accord with Reich’s top down concept.


A second approach
Opening the feelings deals not with structures but with ongoing processes, their expression and their blocking. The primary focus shifts from the organization of patterns of armor by body segment to the organization by patterns which block a particular radix process, often a feeling process. This armoring extends across the body segments with a pattern of blocking that is characteristic for each major feeling. The Radix teacher must become skilled at identifying the particular patterns of tensions associated with the blocking of a given feeling. Subtle muscular cues tell us when the student is blocking pain, fear or anger. And the way to work with process is across segments striving for an integrated expression of feeling, most significantly when discharge comes.


This second approach to understanding and opening the feelings typifies Radix work. It is rooted in radix processes, including pulsation, charge, discharge, counterpulsation and blocking and the processes which underlie the major feeling pairs: pain/pleasure, fear /trust, and anger /love. Blocks to these processes and the characterology of those blocking them are major topics of Radix work, and will be discussed later in this article.

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