In psychiatry, “waxy flexibility” refers to a symptom that is frequently linked with catatonia, a neuropsychiatric disease characterized by a lack of movement, responsiveness, and excessive stiffness of posture.

Waxy flexibility refers to the strange phenomena in which a person’s body may be manipulated into various postures and will stay in those positions for a lengthy amount of time, almost as if their limbs were made of wax. It is a characteristic indication of catatonia and is generally interpreted as a consequence of the person’s loss of voluntary motor control.