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The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain Paperback – October 1, 1999


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The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain + Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection + The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books, Inc.; Reprint edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446675156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446675154
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dr. John Sarno caused quite a ruckus back in 1990 when he suggested that back pain is all in the head. In his bestselling book, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, he claimed that backaches, slipped discs, headaches, and other chronic pains are due to suppressed anger, and that once the cause of the anger is addressed, the pain will vanish. Relieved Amazon.com readers call this book "liberating" and say "it sounds too good to be true, but it is true." Sarno has returned with The Mindbody Prescription, in which he explains how emotions including guilt, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can stimulate the brain to manufacture physical symptoms including fibromyalgia, repetitive strain injuries, migraine headaches, hay fever, colitis, ulcers, and even acne. If these psychosomatic problems all sound a little Freudian, what with the repression of emotions in the unconscious, it's because Sarno unapologetically borrows from Freud for the basis of his theory and cites childhood trauma as a major source of emotional problems. He also says that his program is a "talking cure" of sorts, since patients must be convinced their pain is rooted in their emotions before healing can begin.

The book reads a bit like psychology text, with Sarno quoting from psychoanalytic theorists including Heinz Kohut and Graeme Taylor and the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition). Sarno walks through the neurophysiology of mindbody disorders, lists the symptoms of dozens of disorders that he believes are emotion-based, and offers a basic program for overcoming psychosomatic pain and illness. His recovery plan includes meditation and sometimes psychotherapy, including behavior modification, and stopping any medication or physical therapy. While Sarno's ideas seem radical, they were commonly implemented earlier in the 20th century, when psychoanalysis was at its peak of popularity, and they promise to become more accepted in our current era of alternative medical therapies and anger management. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

John E. Sarno, M.D., is Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and attending physician at the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center.

Customer Reviews

When you read the book it makes sense and it really does work.
J. Honaker
By reading the book, the mind's process for causing the pain is exposed and now rendered useless in distracting the patient from the underlying causes (i.e., anger).
MikeJM
I highly recommend this book to all those suffering from chronic pain.
Charles H. Hypes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

387 of 395 people found the following review helpful By Matthew White on April 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a fantasic book and Dr. Sarno has done invaluable, scientifically sound work. Now, how do we make his knowledge work for us; how do we starting applying it right away?

First, a few of the basics. 1. There is no way to utilize Dr. Sarno's research without dealing with the psychology of our unconscious minds. Most people are unfamiliar with this, so it takes some getting used to. If you have any skepticism regarding "the unconscious brain," maybe even doubting its existence, then this will be a barrier for you in benefiting from Dr. Sarno's research. Try to be open-minded and unafraid to own up to your own repressed emotions. A common mistake made by many health professionals is to cite conscious emotions as the cause, or part of the cause, of various health problems. For example, when I handed my doctor a copy of Sarno's book, he said, "I am already well aware that `stress on the job' is the #1 cause of back pain." But simply saying "stress" or "tension" is the culprit misses the point! We have to accept that it is our job to root out the sources of our repressed, uncomfortable feelings that are currently hidden from us.

2. That said, we don't have to change those feelings or make them vanish. Rather, we have to try to bring them to light and, if possible, sit with them. Once our attention is on the emotions, day in and day out, then the purpose of the pain or other distraction fades away.

3. Dr. Sarno's treatment program is not aspirin. You don't pick up his book on the days you hurt and then throw it down when you feel better. Dr. Sarno's books are a long-term means for us to re-think how we understand pain and bodily disorders (turns out that most of them are not pathological).
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121 of 123 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Glickman, author of the Mindful Money Guide (Ballantine Books) on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Last winter I was stricken with near-crippling lower-back and hip pain, which I initially attributed to a combination of basketball and hours of shoveling heavy snow. For more than a month, getting out of bed each morning was a painful, arduous affair that could take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. As the day wore on I would improve somewhat but was still unable to sit in a chair, let alone exercise, do yoga, or contemplate cross-country skiing or playing hoops. I sought help from doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, and an acupuncturist. While acupuncture was very helpful, my long-term cure came from Dr. John Sarno's book Mind Over Back Pain. In it, Sarno clearly explains how the vast majority of back, neck, and shoulder pain is caused by stress. The pain I felt wasn't imaginary or psychosomatic in the sense that there weren't actually physical symptoms, but the cause of those symptoms (the result of restricted blood flow to my lower-back region) came from not processing my emotions as emotions. My back took the brunt of what my mind wasn't fully able/ready to accept. In The MindBody Prescription Dr. Sarno moves beyond just the back to explain how and why the mind causes pain in any number of places in the body; he applies those insights to help heal other maladies such as allergies, carpal tunnel syndrome, skin problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The reason most of these ailments don't respond to drugs and physical manipulations is that these approaches don't address the root cause of the problem: unrecognized emotional turmoil. If you're suffering from an ailment that is difficult to diagnose or not responding finding to conventional, or even alternative cures, read Sarno's book.
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216 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Niki Collins-queen, Author VINE VOICE on June 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. John Sarno's book "The MindBody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain" is invaluable. I first bought Sarno's book titled "Healing Back Pain" for my mother in South Africa and learned that stress, tension and psychological factors can cause back pain and migraines. Since I have chronic migraines I bought his later book "The MindBody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain." His thinking is of course outside mainstream medicine. Sarno found that strong emotions generated in the unconscious mind, particularly rage, cause the mind to create a more socially acceptable physical distraction. The brain does this by reducing the blood flow and thus the proper amount of oxygen to the tissues involved. He says the change in the muscles, nerves and tendons account for 90% of the pain. He calls it TMS-Tension Myositis Syndrome as it is a physical disorder caused by tension in muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments. The pain from the TMS takes our attention away from the emotional trauma and instead of dealing with our repressed feelings we focus on our body.
Treatment involves looking at what was going on in our life when the pain started and identifying repressed feelings from the past.
An experience I had makes me think what Sarno says is true. When my half sister and her husband, from South Africa, lived with me for five months they bought a car that had engine problems that only got seven miles to the gallon to tour America. I was concerned about their car purchase but did not say anything. I developed severe neck and back pain and could not turn my head for a week. I shared my concern about their car at a Co-Dependency group meeting and to my surprise I became very tearful. As I spoke the ache in my neck evaporated like vapor.
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