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The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

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Book Overview

The New York Times bestselling guide to a healthy and pain-free life. Musculoskeletal pain disorders have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, with most doctors failing to recognize... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Heal Yourself with Education

More on the how's and why's of a painful body. In black and white this book told me why I was feeling pain and recommended a way to alleviate that pain. And Dr. Sarno's method worked! Through education I learned to heal my pain. And I learned that I didn't have to make allowances for a sore shoulder and a sore back. I'm no longer in pain and I like to read through the book from time to time. I find it fascinating and I can see what I did that was right.

A Whole New Way to Think About Health and Medicine

This is a fantasic book and Dr. Sarno has done invaluable, scientifically sound work. Now, how do we make his knowledge work for us; how do we starting applying it right away? First, a few of the basics. 1. There is no way to utilize Dr. Sarno's research without dealing with the psychology of our unconscious minds. Most people are unfamiliar with this, so it takes some getting used to. If you have any skepticism regarding "the unconscious brain," maybe even doubting its existence, then this will be a barrier for you in benefiting from Dr. Sarno's research. Try to be open-minded and unafraid to own up to your own repressed emotions. A common mistake made by many health professionals is to cite conscious emotions as the cause, or part of the cause, of various health problems. For example, when I handed my doctor a copy of Sarno's book, he said, "I am already well aware that `stress on the job' is the #1 cause of back pain." But simply saying "stress" or "tension" is the culprit misses the point! We have to accept that it is our job to root out the sources of our repressed, uncomfortable feelings that are currently hidden from us. 2. That said, we don't have to change those feelings or make them vanish. Rather, we have to try to bring them to light and, if possible, sit with them. Once our attention is on the emotions, day in and day out, then the purpose of the pain or other distraction fades away. 3. Dr. Sarno's treatment program is not aspirin. You don't pick up his book on the days you hurt and then throw it down when you feel better. Dr. Sarno's books are a long-term means for us to re-think how we understand pain and bodily disorders (turns out that most of them are not pathological). Without diligently following through on this re-thinking process, future relaspe is a matter of course. 4. No matter how bad your bodily problems are (and there are hundreds that could be at work), they are not the real problems. Let me say that again, the pain is not your biggest worry! It is so easy to wistfully think, "If only I were well, then my life would be perfect." I'm sorry, but that's not true. Rather, once you are well, you are then more able to focus on the anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, and past events that deserved your attention from the very beginning. In so far as you avoid these subjects, you encourage any available distraction that your brain might utilize to boost your complacency. Be strong and don't give up! To be specific, you've got to sit down for 15-30 minutes every morning and evening and go over the things in your life and your history that gall the heck out of your childish, selfish unconscious brain. This is the basis of the therapy. It is like homework. But really, it is medicine. The 15-30 minute sessions allow you to gradually absorb what Dr. Sarno has said, apply it to your own unique life, and talk to your brain. You have to banish the fear of physical disorders with facts and those facts need time to sink in. Plus, you h


Dr. John Sarno's book "The MindBody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain" is invaluable. I first bought Sarno's book titled "Healing Back Pain" for my mother in South Africa and learned that stress, tension and psychological factors can cause back pain and migraines. Since I have chronic migraines I bought his later book "The MindBody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain." His thinking is of course outside mainstream medicine. Sarno found that strong emotions generated in the unconscious mind, particularly rage, cause the mind to create a more socially acceptable physical distraction. The brain does this by reducing the blood flow and thus the proper amount of oxygen to the tissues involved. He says the change in the muscles, nerves and tendons account for 90% of the pain. He calls it TMS-Tension Myositis Syndrome as it is a physical disorder caused by tension in muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments. The pain from the TMS takes our attention away from the emotional trauma and instead of dealing with our repressed feelings we focus on our body. Treatment involves looking at what was going on in our life when the pain started and identifying repressed feelings from the past. An experience I had makes me think what Sarno says is true. When my half sister and her husband, from South Africa, lived with me for five months they bought a car that had engine problems that only got seven miles to the gallon to tour America. I was concerned about their car purchase but did not say anything. I developed severe neck and back pain and could not turn my head for a week. I shared my concern about their car at a Co-Dependency group meeting and to my surprise I became very tearful. As I spoke the ache in my neck evaporated like vapor. I later joked with them and said, "You're a pain in the neck!" I fit perfectly with the personality characteristics common in people with TMS-conscientious, responsible, perfectionistic with a strong need to please and to be helpful and good. And as Sarno says these tendencies have lead to tension and anxiety and physical problems. When I looked for repressed anger when the migraines started I discovered that I felt extremely rejected, betrayed and used by my sister and brother-in-law at that time. Once I identified the repressed anger and sadness I started to grieve. It was like going through a divorce. Now I see we had different expectations for our relationship back then. I thought of us as a family. They wanted to immigrate to America and saw me as their ticket to get established.When my stepfather heard I was angry he said, "Why don't you float your negative feelings in a paper boat down your creek? I thought I had! Now I see that Sarno's views are more helpful. Sarno says, "We are frail beings with brains strongly influenced by childish, illogical, reactions and dependency needs. Most of us carry feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, humiliation, shame and anger at ourselves for not living up to


This man may very well be a genius. Or a great discoverer, like Christopher Columbus.While I may have a humorous introduction, take me seriously. I am a skeptic to the nth degree. A cynic, and suspicious of all new theories in the world of science and medicine. But! The truth is, John Sarno is a legend, and an incredibly important hero. I was in the hospital four times in four years for my chronic back pain. Doctor after doctor spoke to me about potentially slipped discs, nerve damage, sciatica, blah blah blah. THEN, in 1995 the American Medical Association published a study regarding back pain, which a Doctor at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles mentioned to me. The doctor told me, "Josh, I need to tell you that the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study earlier this year, and I think they're right. Your back pain is severe, but you need to ask yourself why your back pain comes back, treatment after treatment. If us doctors really knew how to treat back pain, we'd have cured you. There is nothing physically wrong with you." I was shocked.Then, on the recommendation found in Howard Stern's books, "Private Parts" and "Miss America" (yeah, I know, laugh all you want), I picked up John Sarno's MIND OVER BACK PAIN. I could not believe any of this. But it's true. I have had NO BACK PAIN IN FIVE YEARS. I'm free. Folks, prior to this, I WAS IN TOTAL CRIPPLING AGONY. Nowadays, when I feel a tinge in my back, I remind myself that it's my body reacting to tension or anger or a similar emotion or other imbalance in my state of mind. And now, the back pain is gone in SECONDS.Not the best-written, most measured review, but for GOD'S SAKE, IF YOU HAVE BACK PAIN, READ ANYTHING BY JOHN SARNO AND END THE AGONY. YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIVE THIS WAY.If your doctor rejects Sarno in any way, get a second opinion. Any doctor who rejects the mind-body connection Sarno puts forth is AN IDIOT.One day, probably long after he's gone, John Sarno will be lionized by the medical community. He should be given the Congressional Medal of Honor for his work in saving folks' sanity and the United States of America from more payouts via workman's comp or lost time at work.GOD BLESS JOHN SARNO.

Sarno is a pioneer

Last winter I was stricken with near-crippling lower-back and hip pain, which I initially attributed to a combination of basketball and hours of shoveling heavy snow. For more than a month, getting out of bed each morning was a painful, arduous affair that could take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. As the day wore on I would improve somewhat but was still unable to sit in a chair, let alone exercise, do yoga, or contemplate cross-country skiing or playing hoops. I sought help from doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and an acupuncturist. While acupuncture was very helpful, my long-term cure came from Dr. John Sarno's book Mind Over Back Pain. In it, Sarno clearly explains how the vast majority of back, neck, and shoulder pain is caused by stress. The pain I felt wasn't imaginary or psychosomatic in the sense that there weren't actually physical symptoms, but the cause of those symptoms (the result of restricted blood flow to my lower-back region) came from not processing my emotions as emotions. My back took the brunt of what my mind wasn't fully able/ready to accept. In The MindBody Prescription Dr. Sarno moves beyond just the back to explain how and why the mind causes pain in any number of places in the body; he applies those insights to help heal other maladies such as allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome, skin problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The reason most of these ailments don't respond to drugs and physical manipulations is that these approaches don't address the root cause of the problem: unrecognized emotional turmoil. If you're suffering from an ailment that is difficult to diagnose or not responding finding to conventional, or even alternative cures, read Sarno's book.

Cured after 10+ years of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)

After more than 10 years of excruciating pain from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), I've been cured...something doctors claim is impossible. I tried everything before I found this book. Conventional medicine in all forms, alternative medicine & even Chinese medicine. Nothing fact doctors hindered me from finding the truth. Though I complained often about my pain & how determined I was to find a cure, my chiropractor never mentioned Dr. Sarno's book (which he had just read) because he didn't want to lose me as a patient. So much for conventional health"care".I found Dr. Sarno's book by chance on a bookstore shelf on the way to see a movie one Saturday night. After reading two paragraphs I sat down and immediately began to cry because I knew I'd found the answers I'd been looking for all these years. I knew Dr. Sarno was absolutely correct because, 1) I knew my pain was related to traumatic incidents in my life, 2) I realized that immediately after anything that increased oxygen to my muscles (exercise, acupuncture) the pain decreased, and 3) whenever I talked to anyone about my problems, which was rare, I felt immediately better. (All these topics are covered in the book.)Dr. Sarno lead me down the trail of facing my true feelings & not living in denial. It's been hard work these past two months & I have to constantly remind myself that any pain can be stopped if I face my unconscious rage, but IT'S WORTH IT! I'm nearly painfree already.My personality has completely changed & I can now interact normally with the people I love without living life through a fog of pain. I can also play the violin again which I had to quit due to the intense pain.Don't miss this book if you have any sort of emotional pain...It will give you your life back!
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