The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

Author: John E. Sarno
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by tuan3w   2021-12-22
I share with you a bit about what I have learned. I've struggled a lot. Everything is like broken. I'm still struggling right now. However, I'm still working on something to make our situation better. I do several research and experiments on Happiness, psychology, neuroscience and here are something I'm want to share.

+ Hedonic adaption: Hedonic adaption is special psychological effects that explains about how we perceive about happiness. Even after a big happy moment, our level of happiness do down quickly. We adapt our perception to our current situations. So it's like nothing will last forever. Hedonic adaption is both good and bad. It makes us adapt quickly with any situations. It keeps us safe. So we should appreciate it and learn how to make use of this effect rather than blaming it. Learns to attend with everything you do even it's bad, explore something news. It will help you deal with bad effects of hedonic adaptation.

+ Mindfulness: Do some mindfulness exercise. We feel stress because our mind think we're having problems. Our mind made up our feelings to keep us safe [7]. It's good for us. Mindfulness help us understand more about feeling and more enjoy the moment.

+ Mind body connection: Your health affects your mental, and your mental will affect your health. To me, it's not because some spiritual belief, but it's how systems work [3] [4]. Our body, our mind are systems. They are part of bigger system. They connect each others and interact with each other, sending some feedback. So try to improve both your health and your mental. Try to improve your health diet, do exercises and taking care of our thoughts and feelings.

+ We aren't rational. Our thinking system is optimal but it has limitations [3]. It has a lot of problems (cognitive biases). Learn to appreciate and find a way to make it better. For example, we can adapt. We update our belief overtime. Try to make new better habits[5]. Make small steps.

+ There isn't perfect things. Every systems aren't perfect. Our immune system, our cognitive system, organizations, data structures, design patterns,... Appreciate what works, what not and improve it.

Some interesting books, articles you might interest:





by CircadianRadian   2021-12-10

This might be of some help to you. May not be a fit, but worth the read.

by incrediblemonk   2021-12-10

It's a form of hysteria, and due to stress, like 99% of chronic pain. Dr. Sarno's Book. One of many

Dr. Clarke's book

Aaron Iba's page

Dr. Herbert Benson speaking at Harvard

Northwestern University Hospital chronic pain department

Another link at Harvard University

by lightjon   2021-12-10

Well hey there I think you're on to something here!

Trauma can be a sticky thing, especially long term severe abuse in childhood. We all have stress responses that are designed to keep us safe. If a tiger leaps out of the woods on your morning walk to school your body will rocket into a state of fight-or-flight to keep you safe. In a normal situation, when you're able to run from the tiger or the zookeeper catches it your body will realize the situation has been resolved and you are now safe. It sends the "all safe" signal, the stress response smoothes out and your subconscious is able to process the experience and integrate it into the story of your life experience. "Remember that time the tiger escaped from the zoo and we almost got eaten on the way to school? Whew! That was close haha!" Feeling safe in a nest of family and friends is also vitally important. You can share the story, bond over the experience and move forward together.

But what if the traumatic attack was never resolved? What if that tiger held you down over and over again and beat and brutalized you? What if the tiger was your father or your mother, the very people you rely on to take care of you and protect you? Now who do you tell? You're tiny, the tiger is big and strong and it hurts you over and over again every day.

When the body goes into a flight-or-flight response big metabolic changes occur to get you ready to fight for your life. Digestion is stopped. Complex thought and long term planning cease. Blood rushes to your arms and legs to prepare you for battle.

All pain is the same. Whether it's caused by a broken arm or emotional abuse, the neural circuitry in the brain is the exact same. It's said that "neurons that wire together, fire together". Pain responses can be conditioned, learned and seared into your mind and body.

Maybe you outgrew that tiger attack... sort of. But if you weren't able to actively do something about it or process the guilt and shame of that experience you are still carrying around that incomplete memory somewhere in your body. Body memory is different from a cognitive memory. The narrative version of our lives, which we tell to people to describe who we are, is a different version of memory from the physiological memory where trauma is inscribed. Traumatic memories do not come with a start, middle and end. Instead they reappear in fragments, particular smells, the color of the wallpaper, the timbre of someone's voice heard through a thin wall, the sheets of a bed pulled up over your face. These traumatic memories cycle over and over again outside time. It's as if they're happening NOW and on some level they're happening ALL THE TIME. It may be subtle, but the body is constantly sending out signals that "I'm not safe! I'm not safe! I'm not safe!"

You may become agitated, angry and lash out. You might also become lethargic and depressed, withdrawn from anything that might throw you off your delicate balance. It may be hard to focus on long term goals or concentrate deeply on a single topic because so much of your energy is subconsciously preparing for another tiger attack. As said above, digestion and normal body regulation is disrupted. The body is flooded with stress hormones all the time. This may have immediate impacts on your emotional well being. Over time, after days, weeks and years of disrupted behavior, healthy eating patterns may be destroyed, sleep may be shallow or barely existent, your persistent exhaustion and irritability may disrupt your social life.

Eventually these symptoms and disruptions can snowball into huge chronic pain problems with excruciating physical symptoms. Thoughts of frustration and shame and self-loathing only exacerbate the problem. It may be as if your emotional immune system is attacking itself, which only adds more damage. Life can spiral out of control.

There is hope however.

The opportunity to heal is available to everyone if you're willing to face and befriend your pain and come to terms with the shadow experiences that have been ruling your life from the past.

After all, what other options do you have?

What happened, happened. All we can do from here is bring compassion to ourselves and move on to brighter things.

The first step is to establish a feeling of Safety. From the tone of your writing it seems like you've found a point of stability and you're taking Big Action to look into the mechanisms of your syndrome. Very well done, you're off to a great start!

I think I will refer you to some Authors who have laid out some extensive groundwork on the topic. Have a look around and continue to explore body based therapies. It doesn't have to be all clinical. If you're able, go out for a swim or take an easy movement class. Try acupuncture and massage therapies. If you can find a talk therapist with whom you feel very Comfortable and Safe, continue to explore that route as well.

Here are some resources you might find helpful:

Unclenching Blog - How I cured my chronic pain

Mind/Body Syndrome - Pain Recovery Program

Tension Myositis Wiki

Dr John Sarno's Book "The Mind/Body Prescription"

Bessel Van Der Kolk "The Body Keeps the Score" on Traumatic Memory and PTSD

Dr Gabor Mate - Focus on Trauma and Addiction


Best wishes!

by mfrye0   2021-07-19
Yeah, I was in a similar place at one point. Check out the book in this thread:

I don't know if it was the book, a placebo effect, or something else, but I got better after reading that.

by mfrye0   2020-02-27
I went through a similar situation and ended up using

Edit: I've been wanting to try this project for several years now: I think something like this is the solution moving forward vs voice coding.

by JPOG   2019-11-17

Read this, it matches with Abraham’s teachings. Pain or allergies are your bodies way of telling you something emotionally isn’t right.

by SpinCycleMKV   2019-11-17

Well, I would recommend reading

The first one is a lot easier read and got me healing almost immediately, even when I was reading the book I noticed I was holding it with my right hand. The second book is incredible for gaining a DEEP understanding of why this occurred to you, what's going on and making tremendous insights. I remember reading this book and it felt like the ground beneath my feet was shifting with insight after insight and I have my book marked up with endless quotes and how they related to experiences I had I would write in the margins.

I understand the skepticism and people will think I'm full of shit and that's fine but this is what helped me saved my life, and I'm going on 6 months of vastly improved health and close to 100% now.

This isn't everything and I plan on doing a Youtube video explaining on my channel but here are the major things.


  1. I read Sarno's book and I accepted the diagnosis. I was at rock bottom, lost my job due to my injury, I was feeling suicidal because the pain had recently worsened so bad. Reading the book things started to make sense like how I had noticed why I would have pain at irrational times (just thinking about using a mouse). I had gotten into a habit over the years of naturally avoid using my right hand for the mouse and even throughout my recovery I fell back into that habit and had to get rid of it to get close to 100% recovery. I'd say I'm at about 98 - 99% now, I've played 350 games of League of Legends this year a vastly intensive clicking game I had to quit prior becauseof this issue. I wouldn't even be able to type this huge post without tremendous pain before hand and now I'm doing it without worry to give an example.
  2. You have to do journal speak for 20 minutes every day. TMS is caused by repressed blood flow to your area but the lack of blood flow is caused from repressed rage in your unconscious. You take away it's power to harm you when you bring it to your conscious. Even throughout the period my symptoms and condition was getting worse I would remark how much more stable and less angry I had gotten. You probably feel like you don't have a lot of anger inside but holy hell did I and by not giving it a voice it was manifesting in a societally acceptable way, physical pain, as opposed to rage which is generally bad. Chronic pain tends to manifest in people with perfectionist personalities, people who are very loving, highly anxious, worriers, sensitivie to criticism, goodists and more those are just a few of the personality traits associated.
  3. To prepare for journal speak you have to go back to your childhood/high school time period trauma and act like a 6 year old and make list. Everything that's ever bothered you in your life from your parents, abandoment, you really need to dig deep. I had a list of about 60 things including anger toward my mom for coddling me as a child, not letting me date, girls I missed out on opportunities from, my dad abandoning me, my friends who treated me poorly growing up, hating being circumcised, and lot sof things that were probably irrational but your childhood ego isn't rational and by giving a voice to all the hurt you begin to take away its power to manifest as chronic pain. A lot of times the chronic pain probably sees easier than dealing with your darkest rage and thoughts but that's what needs to be done.
  4. Every day you pick one of these topics and you unleash in a journal for 20 minutes, I used a wordpad on my computer. I cursed a lot in mine, I would branch off into other things that upset me and I'd be brutally honest because that's what needs to be done. When your finished for the day you delete it and move on. What you're doing is you're giving your repressed rage a voice so it starts to lose its power to manifest as chronic pain. It does't necessarily have to be 100% true, your feelings never are but you need to give how YOU FEEL a voice.
  5. Lastly you need to start living your life again and stop giving the pain meaning. I refresh Sarno's philosophy and read a bit of Ozanich's book or watch the Youtube videos of Sarno and it refreshes the mentality. You're literally rewiring your mind. For me this meant I had to try to play League of Legends even though I wasn't 100% yet. I had to stop doing physical therapy, start focusing on my future life and if I had pain. Basically you return to normal activities, I would do this slowly not because you are at risk for harm but because it's very painful at first, but the more you start to live the pain loses its grasp on you. Once I started to really heal the last dying death throes of TMS is to start manifesting itself wildly all over your body. I was driving to the gym one day and my shoulder start in intense pain, my hip would act up in bed, and I reaffirmed the diagnosis to myself and continued through it and now those and other problems that arose are gone.
  6. Myself and many others got amazing healing early on but there's still some there. pain Your life is livable again but not completely back to 100% health. That means you're not done yet, you have to keep reaffirming the diagnosis and not live like hurt dysfunctional person anymore Sometimes it even feels good to get others pity or sympathy. One of my TMS triggers was using my pain as an excuse for my stagnant life shit existence, with no girlfriend, no job skills etc. and by letting go of my pain I had to confront this head on and change something about my life and do something that was scary to me TRY TO SUCCEED. I forgot to mention this but during the journaling process you want to figure out the things you can change in your life and be proactive about it. The things you can't change you have to give a voice to.
  7. Reaffirming the diagnosis would be watching Sarno's videos, reading the books I listed above every now and then. I have a video on my computer with 12 reaffirmations about TMS. I also watch this video about the guy getting to 100% this helped me get over the last big hump:
  8. He's one of Nicole Sachs students, lastly AVOID GOING TO PLACES WHERE PEOPLE ARE DESCRIBING SYMPTOMS OR TALKING ABOUT PAIN THIS WILL HINDER YOUR RECOVERY. In fact this is how these issues seem to start in the first place, your mind even often finds a logical place to manifest your TMS (say a foot injury or body part you use a lot like it did for me)

This isn't everything but hopefully it help gets you started. I hope the amount of time and effort I took to write this indicates my sincerity in wanting to help others like I helped myself, because it's transformed and given me a new lease on life and existence. And best of all getting through the chronic pain also is maintaining and managing your mental health, and figuring out what you truly want to do with your life and what barriers are preventing you from fulfilling it like say chronic pain.

Best of luck


by ceras   2018-12-13
I left a recent comment on HN about this[0], and at the risk of sounding like a shill I'll share it again as it helped at least one person :) My experience tracks with yours, and it really does seem like modern medicine is missing something important.

The book The Mind-Body Prescription[1] by Dr. Sarno covers this exact topic, and made a huge impact on my life and the life of a friend of mine. It's a worthwhile read for scientifically-minded skeptics who are feeling frustrated that doctors seem stumped by their chronic pain/illness. I had a worsening pain that jeopardized my ability to work a desk job, and that book resolved it in a matter of weeks.


by aaronbrethorst   2018-10-31
I bought my then-girlfriend/now-wife a copy of Sarno's Mindbody Prescription a few years ago on the recommendation of someone on HN to help her with chronic back pain. It did her a world of good. Didn't fix everything, but definitely helped out quite a bit.

by bambax   2017-09-18
Not one mention of The Mindbody Prescription (if only to dismiss it)? If you're suffering from back pain, or carpal tunnel syndrome, or such ailments, read this book, it might change your life! (and if it doesn't it can't harm)

by read   2017-08-19
The most surprising information I discovered curing RSI is:

which recommends

by kqr2   2017-08-19
Amazon link to book:

by AhtiK   2017-08-19
A rather deep research and clinical practice on working with the mind to cure the body has been conducted by John E Sarno.

The Mindbody Prescription [1] and The Divided Mind [2] are two of his books.

My interest in this started with the motivation to get some relief for the RSI-like symptoms and it's been part of my recovery for a few weeks together with the improved ergonomics.