Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dr. John

No, not the Dr. John of "Night Tripper" fame, but Dr.John Sarno.
That's him in the picture.
Tiny, 83, Head of Rehabilitation Medicine at NY University. This guy is no slouch.
But what he has to say may kick your athletic ass.

I read about him first in a Runners World article titled "The Big Hurt" by Ben Cheever.
He goes on about a problem with his Piriformis and his inability to run...and then he gets to Dr. Sarno. The Good doctor examines him, tells him there is nothing wrong and that his problems are coming from his head.
Having been through a bout of pains this summer, my foot my neck and left shoulder, this really made me come to attention.
I surfed a bit and found several books by Dr. Sarno. "Healing Back Pain" and "The Divided Mind". Both books deal with an idea of his, TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome). The sort version of this is that often the pains we suffer are due to rage and anger we carry inside of us. Anger over any number of issues or problems or things that have happened in life. This anger manifests itself in physical pain...pain that can be debilitating. His ideas are discounted by a doctors schooled in a era when the power of the mind in illness has been givin short shrift. (This is so far outside the mainstream of medicine, that even Runners World buried the meat of the article in the back pages and the only letter to the editor they printed on the subject though it was irresponsible for them to have printed the article in the first place.)
Having a Masters Degree in Counseling I have to say that saw this almost immediately as a real possibility of my recent pains. Over the years I've seen the power of the mind do some really strange stuff. I'd had pains that had led to a sub par Ironman finish and having to drop out of another race as well as all the money I'd spent on PT this year on my neck and shoulder.
I read the books, thought about them and was thankful I'd finished Anatomy and Physiology last year as it gave me a good back ground to understand how Dr. Sarno's ideas work.
All I needed to do was test it out.
Several times in the past weeks since I was able to return to running, I've had a few issues pop up during a run or a bike ride...I asked myself, out loud even, What was I angry about. I even answered myself...sometimes out loud. The pain went away almost immediately.
More reading to do, but as far as I'm concerned...nuff said!
I'm back up to running 50 mile weeks with no problems.


  1. Hey, good post about Dr. Sarno, who is 86 now, born in 1923, and who has probably cured more pain than anyone else on the planet, tens of thousands of patients over decades. For the 20/20 segment on him from 1999, see:
    Best, Ralph

  2. You should check out Arnold Mindell and process work out of Oregon, and the other thing is EFT... it taps on the the meridans that are blocked and helps stuff get clear. You are barking right up my street. For me to get free from my body stuff involves confronting people who have treated me so badly I have nothing but hate for them... I don't live in the same country as one, and the other is the mother of my child and it isn't likely to happen soon. It's okay being angry, but balancing it out and using it right is the big challenge.
    I am pretty sure when pain is on one side of the body, it's coming from energy outside.