John Sarno the Modern Prophet of Mind Body Disharmony

Dr. John Sarno recently died at age 93.  His work and the legacy he left through the books he wrote and the people he affected will echo far into the future.  He was a man ahead of his time or at least ahead of his peers.  

Dr. Sarno worked as a rehab doctor and noted that most non-trauma induced pain was often tied to repressedor "unconscious rage."  He posited that most pain people feel is an attempt by the mind to keep a person safe from this "unconscious rage" and focusing elsewhere.  As a hypothetical example let us say that Darren dislikes his mother in law for some particular reason.  Maybe at a deep and unconscious level she reminds him of someone that hurt him as a child.  Every time Darren's mother in law comes to town his back goes out, incapacitating him and thus preventing him from spending much time around her.  Therefore the pain is a defense mechanism created by a part of the mind to protect a person from some perceived threat.  Dr. Sarno solutions were to work towards becoming conscious of the things in life that may have contributed to one's unconscious rage.  This can be done in a number of different ways including writing down all the things that may have caused this rage and revisiting the list regularly.  Self talk or speaking to the unconscious is recommended as is spending some quiet time in silence or meditation/contemplation.  Additionally simply reading one of Sarno's books has ended some people's pain such as happened to a friend of mine...  

Many years ago my friend was unable to move for weeks due to debilitating back pain.  One day someone dropped off one of Dr. Sarno's books and my friend began to read it.  He said that he took a break from reading it and walked over, got some water to drink and returned to bed.  After he did this he realized that his pain had vanished.  Prior to reading this book it was only with great pain and effort that he could get to the sink for water.  In Dr. Sarno writes about many different people's life situations that led them to the pain that they were in.  There are stories in his books that many people will find relatable to their own lives which seems to trigger an unloading of the unconscious mind.  

One way to think of this is that the pain is the mind attempting to protect a person from something that in the past would have been overwhelming.  As a person is able to engage this material consciously, the unconscious part of the mind begins to see that there is no need for the protection anymore and the pain ends.  


Here are some related links:

What is T.M.S.? "Tension myositis syndrome (TMS), also known as tension myoneural syndrome or mindbody syndrome is a name given by John E. Sarno to a condition he describes as characterized by psychogenic musculoskeletal and nerve symptoms, most notably back pain."

A forum dedicated to helping people deal T.M.S. 

"All the Rage" an upcoming documentary about Dr. Sarno.