In the mid-seventies, a psychosocial concept of stress evolved in Scandinavia and the German-speaking countries. The Swedish endocrinologist and social medic Lennart Levi played a crucial role in this process. In 1959 he founded the (now famous) Stress Research Laboratory based at the Karolinska Institute. The latter was designated a WHO collaboration center for research and training dealing with psychosocial health. The same year, Levi also published an introduction to psychosomatic medicine, which was translated into German five years later. This book, “Stress: Body, Soul, and Illness,” became a milestone in German research on stress. The paper analyses the pioneering role of Levi in establishing stress research in German-speaking countries, and explores the relevance of his body concept in the late Fordist period.