Dear Dr. Sarno,
You had diagnosed me with TMS in 1995. Thank you. You gave me the knowledge I needed to recover from a variety of physical ailments namely severe back spasms and a very embarrassing condition that I refer to as my “personal pain problem” for which I’d sought help from gastroenterologists and gynecologists, underwent a battery of “tests” and then “exploratory surgery”: all of which revealed nothing, leaving my doctors and surgeon completely frustrated and baffled. I am a very conservative person and revealing this “personal pain” to anyone (even the doctors) was very embarrassing for me. They knew I was not making this bizarre pain up!
It wasn’t until I met you that I discovered the problem behind my “personal pain problem”! You informed me that as I worked through the process of healing from my back issue, that I would also heal from my personal pain problem! I am thrilled to inform you that I have!
I think what really solidified my belief in your TMS theory was the fact that my pain would intensify drastically each time I had an appointment with Dr. Fran Anderson! I’d be sitting in the back of a cab, on my way to her office and, like clockwork, the pain would escalate so quickly! Suddenly I would experience pain where I never even had any before! It was amazing! Like my subconscious knew what I was about to do and was screaming “NO! STOP!” The escalation of pain did not surprise me though because I had read in your book to expect this to occur when we first begin the process of healing. For me, the intensifying pain was simply an affirmation of your theory being absolutely confirmed!
Dr. Sarno, before I met you and attended your lectures my life was really falling apart. I was on the verge of losing my job of 25 years, I had ceased all of my sporting activities for fear that I was going to hurt myself even more. I was so depressed.
You gave me my life back! You gave me the gift of knowledge about what was going on in my mind and to my body. You have educated me and given me all I need to know to live out the rest of my life free from the many manifestations of TMS. I will be forever grateful to you Dr. Sarno!
I thank you for having been a very significant part of my life experience!
May God bless you as you have been such a blessing to me!
With long lasting gratitude,
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I have never met you, and I am sure you have lost count of the number of times you have heard this, but I would like to sincerely thank you for showing me the way to heal my 30-year chronic low-back pain! I’ll try and keep my story short, but my back pain started when I was an active 17 year old, after which began a 30 year long saga of pain and suffering.
I was initially diagnosed with a bulging disc on the sciatic nerve which began “my life with a bad back”. After decades of seeing numerous medical specialists and receiving numerous treatments which included surgery, acupuncture, physio sessions, epidurals, and facet joint injections my pain persisted and increased. All of these only gave me temporary relief, if that. Gradually, I slowly but surely lost the ability to lead a normal life. The last 10 years in particular were quite bad as I was living with an average level of 8/10 pain, not being able to sit for more than a minute or two without extreme pain, and avoiding many of the activities one takes part in as part of a normal life. Somehow though I soldiered on by continuously adjusting my life, but the effect of the pain was really starting to take its toll mentally, no different really than being in a torture chamber. Eventually I reached the stage where I had given up any sort of hope of reducing my back pain and became resigned to the fact that I would just have to somehow live a life of taking prescription pain killers, and avoiding anything that caused my back pain to increase above the already ‘normal’ but high pain levels. In the end, no other treatment seemed to give me even a slight reprieve from pain, not even as a placebo. Even the pain killers slowly started to become ineffective requiring higher dosages. Looking back it is clear all of these treatments were aimed at the symptoms rather than the cause. I, as well as my family, had become a prisoner to my back pain.
That was December of 2013. Then one day I came across your book Healing Back Pain on the internet, and after reading a few reviews, I thought, “sounds too good to be true”, but I ordered the book, as well as The MindBody Prescription and received them a week later. I read the books in a few days and as a goodist, I could see myself all over them. I started to put some of the ideas and TMS exercises into practice, and about 2 weeks later I started to notice some reduction in my pain levels. My progress however stagnated a bit for a while, and then I mustered the courage to seek a psychotherapist. In Australia, TMS-aware psychotherapists (or medical professionals) are as rare as hen’s teeth, but funnily enough one of probably the only two TMS practising psychotherapists in this country had a clinic a few blocks away from where I lived! It took another 4 months or so of work with somatic psychotherapy but I finally started to get in touch with a huge reservoir of repressed anger that I had no idea even existed. It is July 2014 now and even though I am not totally pain free, I have reduced my pain levels significantly (by 70 % or more) and I am starting to do things I never even dreamed of doing before. I can now sit down and watch a movie, go to a theatre show or work in front of the computer, instead of lying down all the time. I have stopped worrying about my back, and have not had a flare up now for 4 months, something that used to happen every few weeks or so. For most of the day now I don’t even feel any pain. I have even jumped back on my bike which was collecting dust for the last 10 years in the shed. I recently even went to an 8-hour training course which involved sitting for most of that time. Focussing on feelings and emotions instead of the physical has definitely worked. It’s like my life has started again.
While I still feel some back pain now and then and have some more work ahead of me, I feel I have the knowledge and tools to completely conquer it and I am confident I will eliminate it in the near future. So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your pioneering work and your strength of conviction in unravelling the truth about TMS.
Now when people ask me, “How is your back?” I answer, “Really good thanks!”. They look at me a bit puzzled and ask “What did you do to make it better? Special exercises? Swimming?” I smile at them and cheekily say, “I got better by ignoring everything that I was ever told about my back!” It gets their attention, and then I show them a copy of your book. To this day I always try to spread your good work.
The following letter was translated from Spanish to English.
Hello Doctor Sarno,
Although I never met him because I live far away in Peru, I had the opportunity to read his book “The Divided Mind.” I found myself on each page and thanks to the understanding that occurred in my mind I overcame pelvic pain I had with me for 3 years.
I remember having a desperate phone call with my limited English. I asked for help. He told me to read my book over and over and so I did. I felt pain whenever I read it until one day the pain that was 24 hours a day began to dissipate, and started to be 12 hours, then 6 hours a day. And then out of the blue one day I stopped hurting. I remember that day like it was the first and I thank God for coming to you.
I wish him well :D regards
From Lima - Peru.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
In my late teens I began a 10 year journey of one physical ailment after another and it continued until I studied your work. It started with knee pain, mild carpel tunnel syndrome, then lower back pain, severe allergies, asthma, pancreatitis and finished off with severe ulcerative colitis, all with no known cause and most with no known cure other than surgery for a couple of them. I tried cortisone shots in my knee, braces and therapy for my knee and wrist, inhalers and nasal spray for allergies and asthma, stretches and chiropractors for my back, a wheelbarrow of pills, juicing, fasting and diet changes for colitis. I even had a visit at one of the top four hospitals in the United States in search of help for pancreatitis and colitis only to come home with no answers. I was at a loss. In my mind, being in my mid 20′s, I should have been at the peak of health.
As a long time listener of Howard Stern, I heard him mention you several times over the years but always about back pain. I dismissed it because I only had a brief encounter with it but one day he went a little deeper and touched on the mindbody connection. It triggered something and I bought all of your books. I’m now almost 31, take no medication and I’m in the best health of my life. My breathing tests since studying your work have been “perfect” the pulmonologist says and he has taken me off all inhalers. The allergies remain but have been reduced by 90 percent.
During the time period I was studying your work I had an accident and suffered a Type 4 AC shoulder Separation. After I healed up through physical therapy and was feeling great, I put your theory of pain returning to the site of an old injury to the test. I randomly started feeling a severe pain in my shoulder as if someone was trying to drive a nail into it, it did not follow suit to what I had been doing physically and I “talked my self out of it”. The pain tried a couple more times to come back, I immediately shut it down and it hasn’t returned. I can’t thank you enough and as everyone else says, I am forever in debt to you Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. Sarno
Five years ago, I was a 24 year old woman that had given up on life after battling immense pain for over a decade. I had vowed to take my own life at the end of that year until I was given a gift that would change my life forever. Someone had known of my pain and gave me your book. Within a month I was pain free and by the end of that year I was able to celebrate my life and the hope that I had gained instead of giving up. I had never even met you but yet, you were the only one that helped me through the hardest part of my life. I can still remember how many tears of joy I cried while reading your book and I still to this day smile every time I hear your name or hear of a story of someone else that healed their pain because of you. I only hope that one day everyone living with pain will hear of you and give your books a chance because so many are in need of healing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything that you have done, I will forever be in your debt because I am alive now. I still battle TMS every so often but as soon as it emerges, I recognize it for what it is and realize that I am in control of my pain and my body and not the other way around. This is has changed my life in so many other ways other than just a healing of the body. My mind is at peace and that is something I never thought would happen. Thank you for giving me my life back.
You are my hero Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
You are my hero. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You literally saved my life. Your incredible dedication & caring is quite simply amazing. I have tried to “spread the word of Sarno” for the last 25 years & I hope that I’ve helped some people help themselves. I genuinely love you. You are an amazing man. I hope you are well. You deserve nothing but the absolute best in this world & beyond!
Thank you so much,
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I can’t thank you enough – you have changed my life. I put my back “out” about six years ago and was laid up for about 9 months until a friend recommended your book “Healing Back Pain” and I read a short write-up about your work in “Time” magazine. It made perfect sense to me, so I ordered the “Mindbody Prescription” and did what your patient recommended – I started writing everything down that I could possibly be angry or upset about. Well, at the time I thought that I was pretty in touch with my feelings because I had been in Primal Therapy since 1980. But I just started writing anyway and ended up with 2 full pages – LOL!! What came out was that I had been trying to be the good wife to my husband and was completely unaware of what I wanted. So, within two days I was out of bed (scared out of my mind, of course, thinking I’d end up in a wheelchair) and haven’t looked back!! I have been pain free since then!! And I had it bad – sciatica pain down my right leg and one of my little toes was completely numb. All gone!!! But the really cool thing aside from the back pain is that I have been using your method for everything now – if I feel like I’m getting sick, I either write down or just think about what it is that I’m not looking at. And then I don’t have to get sick. It’s incredible!!
So, you have changed my life – like I said, I can’t thank you enough!!!!
All the best to you- enjoy your retirement!!
Dear Dr. Sarno,
From the time I was eighteen to the age of twenty-one I suffered with debilitating back pain. I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I had to stop doing all the physical things I loved like training in the martial arts. The “doctors” (and I had many) told me I had slipped discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disorder, twisted spine, pinched nerves and sciatica. I went to every different kind of doctor, surgeon, chiropractor, acupuncturist, and faith healer you can imagine. By the time I was twenty-one I was clinically depressed because of my pain and contemplating suicide, which I felt at the time would be my only relief.
Then I found your second book Healing Back Pain. Two weeks later I was completely pain free and twenty years later I am still pain free. I am also a much healthier person in general than I have ever been thanks to what I learned from your book. As far as I’m concerned you are a genius and you saved my life. Those that have never suffered the pain I suffered and realized the miracle of your treatment will not understand what a treasure you are for humanity, but I know. When you said, “Don’t listen to your doctor, do the things you love and don’t be afraid of pain” it was as if a divine light went off in my head. I felt that finally there was a doctor that knew what he was talking about and wasn’t just trying to sell me drugs and surgery. Your concepts of TMS saved my life and as a result I was able to save another person’s life.
A friend of mine was randomly complaining about her constant back pain that had been plaguing her for some time. Her doctor told her the same hogwash they told me; slipped discs and jargon. I told her my story and explained to her your theories of TMS. She accepted them and a week later she was pain free. That’s all it took to help someone else! The truths you discovered are radiating out into the world and saving people from unnecessary suffering. Whether you are ever acknowledged by the half wits in the medical community or not, you are a saint in the hearts of thousands, and someday millions, of people throughout the world. You will go down in history as a true healer and that legacy is well deserved.
Thank you Dr. Sarno. Thank you for being brave and putting the health of your patients above the money you might have made selling drugs and surgery.
Thank you. I am forever in debt to you.
The following is Woojin’s original letter to Dr. Sarno written in Korean, his native language. An English translation of his letter is below it.
존 사노 박사님!
저는 한국에서 두 아이를 둔, 한의사입니다.
2012년 겨울 무렵부터 아프기 시작한 허리가, 2013년 5월경부터 심하게 아파지기 시작했습니다. 병원에 가서 진단을 하니, 허리 디스크라고 하였습니다. 직업이 한의사라, 친구,선배들 한의원 다니며 침과 한약으로 치료도 해보고, 양방병원 치료도 여러 방면으로 해 봤으나 그리 큰 효과를 보지 못했습니다.
여름에는 가벼운 윗몸일으키기를 하다가 흉추부위(등허리)에서 “뻑”하는 소리와 함께 숨쉬기 힘들정도로 고통스러웠습니다. 이때부터 고통의 시작이었던거 같습니다. 이후 경추부(목) 통증도 새로 생기도, 팔꿈치, 손목, 무릎, 발목 등, 몸의 큰관절들은 다 고장이 난 듯 통증이 심했습니다. 2013년 11월 경부터는 통증이 더 심해져 집에서 꼼짝없이 누워있기도 했습니다. 서 있기도 힘들었는데, 당시에는 하루에 서너차례 집앞 공원 산책정도만 했습니다. 그 무렵 둘째 딸도 태어났지만, 아이 안기도 힘들어서 너무 괴로웠습니다. 병원 검사도 몇 번 더 했습니다. 증상의 양상이 강직성척추염(ankylosing spondylitis, bamboo spine)이 의심스러워 두번이나 검사를 해봤으나, 아니라고 진단받았습니다. 통증은 심한데, 진단상 그리 심각해 보이지 않는다는 얘기만 들었습니다. 그렇게 겨울을 지내면서 단지 재활이라고는 공원 산책만 했습니다.
크게 차도를 보이지 않아, 굉장한 실망감과 우울감, 가족들에게 미안함으로 힘들었습니다. 게다가 더 심해질 것 같은 공포감도 컸죠.
어느 날, 친구가 읽어보라고 선물해준 사노 박사님의 책, “The divided mind” 를 읽게 되었습니다.
TMS라는 자가진단을 내리고, 책을 읽고 걷기 시작하는데, 정말 놀랄만큼 통증이 줄어들었습니다. 걷기도 수월해졌습니다. 너무 놀라워서 책을 꼼꼼이 정독했습니다. 그 이후, 걷는 시간과 강도를 늘리고 있습니다.
“reservoir of rage”의 개념을 받아들이는 것만으로도 통증이 많이 줄어 너무 놀랍습니다.
2014년 4월 2일이 제 인생의 터닝포인트 날입니다. 이젠 희망이 생기고 즐겁습니다.
비록 멀리 한국에서 편지를 쓰지만, 사노 박사님께 무한한 감사와 존경을 드립니다.
누나네 가족이 볼티모어 살고 있어서, 지금 할아버지, 할머니, 제 아들 셋이 여행을 갔습니다. 그 곳에서 제 부모님과 아들, 누나네 가족도 사노 박사님께 감사해 하고 있습니다.
미국에 가게 된다면, 꼭 박사님을 뵙고 인사드리고 싶습니다. 행복하고 건강하게 사시길 기도합니다.
한국에서 최우진 드림 (woojin choi)
The following is the English translation of Woojin’s letter to Dr. Sarno.
Dear Dr. John Sarno,
I am a herbalist/oriental physician in Korea and the father of two small children.
I started having back pain since Winter 2012, and it grew severely from May 2013. My doctor said it’s a disc herniation. Since I’m a physician of oriental medicine, I went to numerous famous acupuncturist and herbalist but did not see much improvement.
In Summer 2013, I heard a breaking sound in my upper back (thoracic area) while doing sit-ups, and a literally “breathtaking” pain started. I think this was the beginning. The pain appeared in neck, elbows, wrists, knees, ankles as if all the important joints are all broken. I could not even move but just stayed home because of the pain since November 2013. The pain was so severe that it was hard to even stand still. I could barely walk around my house for short 3-4 times a day. My daughter—the second child—was born around that time, but I could not even hold her in my arms because of the pain. I had several more medical inspections. The symptoms were similar to ankylosing spondylitis, and I went through a complete medical examination for it twice. The results were, however, negative. I was only heard that the results do not show anything significant although the pain is severe. I could only do some promenade around my house for a rehabilitation that winter.
As there was no improvement, I was very disappointed, depressed, and sorry for my family. And the fear—what should I do if the pain grew more and more?—was enormous.
One day, my friend bought me your book “The Divided Mind.” I diagnosed myself as having TMS. I started walking right after finishing your book. Gosh, the pain was significantly less. I could walk easily. It was really surprising, so I read your book with care again and again. I am increasing the walking time and distance little by little.
I was very surprised that the pain decreased much just by accepting the concept of “reservoir of rage.”
April 2, 2014 is the turning point of my life. I now have hope and am ready to enjoy my life.
I can only send you this letter at the other side of the globe, but I give you sincere thanks and respect.
My parents and my son are visiting my sister’s family in Baltimore now, and they thank you very much for your work and how it helped me.
If I have a chance to go to the States later, I really want to meet you in person. I pray you stay happy and healthy.
I had a knee problem and had tried everything. Doctors named it chondromalacia patella. Surgery was the only option. Then I came across the name of Dr. Sarno and read his book. I applied his techniques and it’s amazing, I am completely free of knee pain. When I got my knees MRI scanned there was no evidence of it, but the pain was there. After applying Dr. Sarno’s techniques it was completely gone.
I am writing this so that other sufferers out there can use his technique and become pain free. It’s truly sad that pain is inevitable but the suffering is optional.
Thanks with all my heart