I first met Dr. John Sarno when he lectured to our class in medical school. I first spoke with him directly when I asked him about my knee pain. The response he gave me and the subsequent seminars I attended helped to solve my knee pain problem.
As significant as the pain relief was, this exposure offered me something even more significant–a direction for my medical career–which has been a significant daily component of my medical career until today, more than three decades later.
As a medical student, I had a wonderful opportunity to work with him an entire summer as a medical student seeing patients with him and doing telephone research, data analysis, and writing on his first follow up study.
He honored me by allowing me to make editorial comments on a draft or two of his first book Mind Over Back Pain and acknowledged me in the book.
Our conversations, several visits to his home on the upper East side, and a single visit to his home in upstate New York are memorable experiences in my life.
At these visits it was quite evident that he was also a devoted husband to his wife Martha Taylor Sarno, herself a pioneer in the field of speech therapy. It was evident at these dinners that he loved and admired her and she reciprocated fully.
After my medical training shifted west I saw him less often, but we reconnected in the mid 90s. His referrals were instrumental in helping to build my MindBody practice at that time. Those patients inspired me to write my first book, the MindBody Workbook, and to create the first website and audio program in this field.
I had an opportunity to visit him with my wife and children when they were young children at his office. That day was memorable to me and some photos that I will cherish.
Going forward to writing my book Think Away Your Pain in 2014, his willingness to be flexible on his policy of not writing professionally after his retirement and offering me a quote for its back cover was a very meaningful gesture to me, to our relationship, and to the significance that he had in my medical career. I really appreciated that offer.
Dr. Sarno’s work lives on and as many innovators have struggled with alterations and modifications of their ideas, he had some struggles with this as well. But so many of us carry a debt of gratitude to Dr. John Sarno and an appreciation of the importance of his fundamental thinking.
To move forward one most often stand on the shoulders of giants and Dr John Sarno truly was a giant in the area of pain, emotion-based medicine, mind-body medicine, and TMS.
Thank you Dr. Sarno. Thank you John. Rest In Peace
David Schechter MD