My name is Marjorie, 47, and I have lived with chronic pain for too many years, it affecting how I raised my three children, how I went about my daily life and the person I thought I’d become. I read MindBody Prescription and Healing Back Pain and it changed me. I want to thank you for showing me, and so many others, that many times there is nothing physically ‘broken’ and that life does go on once we acknowledge that. It has allowed me to address emotional issues, stressors and let go of the guilt of being a parent with chronic pain for all those years. I am not a hundred percent pain-free yet, but my attitude has changed drastically and I face my fears head-on because I know that it’s “all mental”.
While visiting Mexico last year, I even went snorkeling for a whole day, jumped 25 feet into a lagoon (I’m terrified of heights!) and went exploring in an underground cave another day, things I never would have considered doing before. I felt like a million bucks afterward! Thank you! “
Dear Dr. Sarno,
Your contribution to the betterment of my life began well over a decade ago. I was a young woman who had suffered from lower back pain since my teenage years. I went to many doctors and chiropractors hoping for a solution and was told over and over again that I should focus on strengthening my abs. I would just shake my head in bewilderment because none of those doctors had ever asked me what I did for a living…at that time I was an aerobics instructor and personal fitness trainer! There was NOTHING weak about my abs! So I just knew that medical science did not have the answer to my problem.
When my trusted family physician suggested that the next step was spinal surgery, my intuition kicked in high gear and I knew in my gut that the answer was out there somewhere, and it wasn’t surgery.
Someone had mentioned your book, The Mind Body Prescription to me years ago. I read it, and found myself in those pages. It was easy for me because I have every personality trait associated with TMS. There was no doubt in my mind that this was my problem.
I was pain free after that for quite a while, but I didn’t have the often spoken about “book cure”. My pain does come back in different places now from time to time, but it serves as my reminder to slow down, to not take life so seriously, to put into practice better forms of self- care. I have a new and completely different relationship to pain now.
I went back to school, received my Master’s Degree in Psychology, and now help others who suffer from TMS in my private practice.
Through me you continue to heal those that suffer from chronic pain. Thank you for your courage and dedication to bringing your paradigm- shifting views to the world. You are a maverick and an inspiration to us all.
Colleen Perry MFT
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I am so glad to have this opportunity to thank you, because it is something I have been meaning to do for twenty years! My back pain started at age 32, and I had episodes of severe pain and back spasms that left me flat on my back in bed or on the floor for three days at a time. I remember crawling to the bathroom because I couldn’t bear the indignity of using a bedpan. That’s how bad it was. I pretty much gave up my active lifestyle of running and playing basketball. My sister also suffered from back pain, probably worse than mine. Fortunately for her (and for me) as a last resort before surgery she went to see you, and reported her success to me. She then sent me a xerox copy of your book, and within days I was on my way to a complete “cure”. So many of my severe symptoms were directly addressed in your book. My first episode was triggered by a sneeze while I was bent over and putting on a sock. I remember many times looking in the mirror and gasping at how crooked I looked. I am now 58 and have been pain free and active for over 20 years! It has truly been wonderful. All because of you.
At times I have felt a little guilty because I had been helped so dramatically by someone (you) and I hadn’t even bought your book! I have since purchased multiple copies of several of your books mainly to lend to friends who are suffering from back pain. I have tried to share my success with others with mixed results. It is very frustrating to see people suffering and going to chiropractors and acupuncturists and surgeons and drug dispensers while somehow being unwilling to accept the simple solution.
But for me, it has been one of the best things that has happened in my life and has really allowed me to enjoy my life to the fullest.
Dear Dr. Sarno,
Words could never, ever express how grateful I am to have found you. I think my body always knew you were right. My awareness just had to catch up.
I had back pain for 25+ years. I was told my pain from from scoliosis and myofascial pain syndrome. I tried to find relief through Tylenol, chiropractors, physical therapy, and lifting light weights at the gym. Coinciding with my back pain for all those years was TMJ and headaches. They pounded and pounded, mostly during a stressful day at work. I did more PT, used a TENS unit, moist heat, tried acupuncture, and lifted weights more. Even if the pain subsided for a very brief time, it always came back.
Then, somehow, I found Healing Back Pain. It sounded just like me, I couldn’t believe it. Then I read The Mindbody Prescription and I related to that one even more. I made an appointment to see you; I knew I had TMS, but I had to hear it from you.
Thank you for changing my life. It is no longer ruled by pain every day. I have no limitations and that is incredibly liberating. I admire you for telling it like it is and for staying true to your convictions.
I will never forget you. I hope you have a long and happy retirement. I will miss you.
With gratitude forever,
Dear Dr. Sarno,
As a second year medical student, I began to experience back pain for the first time in my life. I serendipitously came across your work and it changed my life forever. You taught me the greatest lesson I ever learned in medicine: to cure disease, you must treat the cause. Symptomatic treatment is poor medicine. You also introduced me to the powerful and fascinating realm of psychosomatic medicine, which is the missing dimension in so many of the diagnoses we as physicians encounter today.
I could never thank you enough for what you have given me. You are my mentor and hero in medicine and anything I ever achieve professionally will be because of you. You dedicated your career to patient care, which speaks volumes to the type of person that you are. You have healed tens of thousands of patients in your office and millions more through your books. You knew you were right, but decided that it was more important to spend your time curing people than proving all the nonbelievers wrong through research that would never satisfy or change them anyway. You put your patients before your ego and kudos to you for doing that.
Thanks for inviting me to one of your patient panel sessions a few years ago. It was a dream come true to finally see you in person. For the record, I have never had any back pain since reading your books. That isn’t to say that new TMS equivalents don’t pop up from time to time, but they too are easily squashed once I put my mind to it. You have armed me with powerful tools to live a healthier and happier life and to empower patients, friends, and family to do the same.
The story has only begun. There is now an army of young physicians and researchers who are intent on preserving your legacy and continuing your work for decades to come. I am certain that when all is said and done and we look back on the history of psychosomatic medicine that your name will be right next to those of Freud, Breuer, Alexander, and others who have left a lasting impression on this field.
I wish you the happiest and healthiest of retirements. You have certainly earned it.
Thank you, Dr. Sarno!
Dear Dr. Sarno,
I have never met you. But because of your work, I can play Beethoven’s Spring Sonata on the violin to my children.
Eight years ago, when I stumbled upon a copy of The Mindbody Prescription in a bookstore, I had not typed on a computer in seven years and had not touched my violin in nine. After reading your analysis of chronic pain, I recognized it was the first explanation that explained all of my experience of chronic pain — all of my symptoms and why physical therapy helped. So I accepted the cure–to acknowledge and accept unconscious rage. In fact, I didn’t just acknowledge it; I felt it. By the time I left the bookstore, I was livid with rage — at the fact that I had been crippled for years; at the wasted time; at my job that bored me; at family members who had hurt me; at friends who did not love me enough; because I did not know what decisions to make; because I was disappointed in myself; and at the vast disproportion between my desires and their total satisfaction.
And as the rage built up into a scream inside my head, I felt warmth flow into my hands. And I knew my hand pain was over. It has never returned.
My only regret is that, because the book was so good, and my healing so quick, I never got a chance to thank you in person.
Thanks, Dr. Sarno!
Dear Dr. Sarno,
You have changed my life. You are about to retire so I’d like to use this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude to you and tell you a little bit about how you reached me and impacted my life so profoundly.
While the occasional neck pain started for me around 4th grade it became a permanent companion after graduation from Cornell in 1998. In addition to the neck and shoulder pain I often couldn’t even rotate my neck to the right. My discomfort was very obvious to friends and family. I must have seen a dozen chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors over the years. MRIs showed bulged discs that were used to explain the pain. In 2008 it got severely worse with the fingers of my right hand getting tingly, pain moving down my shoulder and the right arm becoming so weak I couldn’t do a single push up anymore.
Here starts the miracle. One day I sit in a Borders coffee shop browsing books and came across your book “The Mind-Body Connection”. It immediately sparked my interest in wanting to know more. Being very visual, instead of buying the book I ordered your video “Healing Back Pain”. In the following 3 weeks all I did was watch your video twice and paired that with daily reflection and journaling. Once a day I read the accompanying study guide out loud to myself and thought about the material. Finally, I put about 50 potential stress factors on paper and picked one a day of my top 10 to write a paragraph about it. I also would re-read my journal daily even if I didn’t add to it. After about 3 weeks my decade long back pain disappeared and never returned again. It is now 4 years later and I am still in perfect health and 100% pain free. The solution was so simple, quick and within reach all those years.
Interestingly, shortly after my pain completely disappeared, the world economy and stock market melted down. I’m a portfolio manager and also manage money for family and friends. This was probably the most stressful time in my life but I felt the healthiest ever and remained completely pain free. To me it very much proved your point that healing doesn’t require the removal of stress factors but requires awareness and understanding.
Words cannot express my gratitude to you for dedicating your life to this research. With it you made a profoundly positive impact on the quality of my life and I cannot thank you enough.
Dear Dr Sarno,
My recovery began on the day I visited Physiotherapist Georgie Oldfield in London. Even that same night, for the first time in years, I slept without pain. I then listened to Georgie’s CD and I bought your book. From your book, “The Divided Mind”, I learned that the causes of TMS are a combination of personality, childhood traumas and general everyday stresses, mental and physical. From another, beloved book of mine, “A Course in Miracles” I learned the following “Sickness is a Defence against the Truth. I fully accept the truth about what I am, and I will let my mind be wholly healed today“.
I am still in the recovery phase and I am experiencing many ups and downs. The downs are almost always connected to feelings of anger or anxiety, and my nature is such that I cannot let go of these feelings, and consequently they refill my Reservoir of Rage again and again. However, I am now so aware of these processes that I can let go, with the help of meditation and prayer.
THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME HOW TO HEAL MY BODY THROUGH HEALING MY MIND.
Tribute to Dr. Sarno:
Dr. Sarno, your work has changed my professional life in a profound
way. As a academic physician and researcher, my interest in TMS began
with a simple encounter: the chair of my Internal Medicine department
told me about his wife who had one of the famous “book cures” (of
severe hip and back pain) after reading The Mindbody Prescription.
Knowing my interests in the relationship between stress and illness
and mindfulness meditation, he suggested that I “look into this.” I
did and this act was a major turning point for my career.
You were gracious enough to allow me to visit you in 2003 to spend a
couple of days observing your work. What a gift to see this work
firsthand! I will always be grateful to you for that. You started me
on a path that has transformed my career and given me a powerful sense
of purpose and meaning. I have spent the last nine years working
ceaselessly to further the goal of making your work part of mainstream
medicine. I have developed a 4-week program based upon your concepts
(with specific writing and meditative exercises) and used it to
conduct a randomized, controlled trial for people with fibromyalgia.
This study was published last year and was the basis for a $3 million
grant from the National Institutes of Health to study emotion-based
therapy for fibromyalgia.
A group of physicians and mental health providers has formed a
professional organization with the goal of training more health care
providers to spread TMS throughout the world. We will not rest until
we have achieved the objectives that naturally follow from your
groundbreaking insight: that many physical symptoms have their genesis
in the mind and can be cured by educational, behavioral, and emotional
I join with my fellow professionals and TMS-affected individuals in
thanking you for your tremendous contribution to medicine. I am
confident that your innovative work will be viewed as a landmark event
when the history of medicine is rewritten in the coming decade.
With gratitude and admiration,
Howard Schubiner, MD
Director, Mind Body Medicine Center, Providence Hospital, Southfield, MI
Clinical Professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI
Dear Dr. Sarno,
Though I’ve told you in person, I want to reiterate just how much your work has meant to me on both a personal and a professional level.
When I was struggling in my late twenties with pain symptoms that no other person could understand or diagnose, your books explained to me what my symptoms were all about. I was able to heal because of your work, and I live pain free because you had the courage to speak up about TMS.
Now that I’m a physician, I have found that working with TMS patients is by far the most stimulating and rewarding work that I do.
I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to blaze this trail and spread the word about Mindbody Medicine.
I wish you all the best in your retirement. I hope you know how many of us are committed to keeping your ideas alive and to helping others live pain free.
John Stracks, MD
P.S. My wife sends many, many thanks as well—because of your work, her migraines are a thing of the past.