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The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,422 ratings  ·  139 reviews
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 rea ...more
Audiobook, Audible, 210 pages
Published (first published April 1st 1998)
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Andy Lampert Have you had a chance to go over the TMS wiki site and its resources? I recommend their pain program, though it is largely based on Dr. Sarno's work:…moreHave you had a chance to go over the TMS wiki site and its resources? I recommend their pain program, though it is largely based on Dr. Sarno's work: but they also have a great page on other pain books here that you may find helpful:

If you do find something, please be sure to share!
Best of luck,
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Community Reviews

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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,422 ratings  ·  139 reviews

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Mark Dickson
Let me preface this review with the fact that the rating doesn't apply to Sarno's theory--that many physical ailments have mental causes--but rather to the book itself--to its execution. I feel like I could have gotten everything I needed from this book in the first chapter alone; the rest fel like overwrought redundancy, Sarno laundry-listing all of the ailments that are maybe/possibly/definitely rooted in mental causes.

I should preface this doubly with the suggestion that this may, in fact, bu
Yelda Basar Moers
Truly an amazing, life-altering read!! Within 24 hours of reading this book my leg pain disappeared! Dr. Sarno believes that back and leg pain can be due to repressed emotions that turn to an interior rage that then become masked as pain. Confronting the mind with this awareness can break the cycle, or so he explains in his brilliant book!
Stefan Kanev
I'm reluctant to rate this book. It sounds very convincing and both the symptoms and history of my RSI issues fit the narrative perfectly, but I feel I should give it a fair shot before having an opinion.

It's basically a very simple idea. A lot of chronic pain problems, (usually related with the back and the upper body) are caused by stress-induced tension, as opposed to serious structural anomalies/deviations/problems. Thus, treatment should be focus on psychological issues and not on physical
Aleksander Skjæveland Larsen
This book is utter nonsense. In the book, the author complains his paper was rejected 7 times from different scientific publications. It
is my suspicion this was due to serious scientific mistakes, as the
book shows the author does not master this skill.

At one point he finds it incredible that occurrence of RSI was increased by 467% between 1989 and 1994. I fail to see why this is problematic; use of home computers exploded in this period. You would expect people spending too much time at the keyb
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephane by: Heard about on Rosie Radio
Shelves: favorites
A life changing read! This book truly connects the dots between the mind and the body. It shines a spotlight on the impact emotional stress can have on the physical body. I suffered from back pain for many years prior to reading this book. That pain is now gone and when I feel it starting to return, I now know it is a sign that I need to deal with emotional stress. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers from chronic pain.
Paul Lyons
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TMS: Tension Myositis Syndrome is relatively new term that few doctors are aware of, or want to be aware of. Thankfully Dr. John E. Sarno has brought this fascinating, frustrating mysterious condition to light. Dr. Sarno's 1998 book "The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain" functions in a very special manner, in that educates and heals at the very same time. It's value goes beyond traditional study of what makes a book good or bad, in that it is the equivalent of medicine v ...more
Dustin Davis
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have the audio book. I listened to it all once through and started getting immediate relief to 10 years worth of RSI in my wrists. The pain then moved to my upper back as the book said to expect. Then to my lower back. After a month the pain finally went away. It sprang up again number times over the next couple of years. Every time it did I would listen to chapter 9 on my train ride commutes.

Also, I have herniated my L5-S1 disc twice. It is ruptured. My neurosurgeon is amazed from my MRIs tha
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
amazing book for dealing with physical pain. Could not walk on my leg, had all tests done, was babying it. Book suggested to address it as caused by hidden rage - I did - leg's all better. WOW.

If you have migraines, aches and pains, shooting pain in arms, hands related to use of computers (carpel tunnel)...READ it....IF you are willing to accept the idea that - if tests have been done and there is no physical cause of the pain to be found - that the pain is cased by your brain.
Travis Callender
Theory of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS)
The unconscious mind may avoid dealing with painful emotions of rage, sadness, shame, etc. through causing a pain syndrome in the body, thereby distracting the conscious mind’s attention to the physical pain rather than the emotional pain. The mind achieves this through constricting blood vessels and causing local anoxia/ischemia. The areas most typically effected are the postural muscles, tendons and nerves (e.g. back pain, neck pain, sciatica); but red
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The message that he is trying to give is that your brain is causing pain in your body due to repressed emotions and your pain will go away by understanding this. For this information, I offer 5 stars. The delivery of the information could be better though. It's not a very captivating read but if you're suffering from any kind of chronic pain, the readability of the book is certainly the least of your concerns.

If you have any kind of pain such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain or migraines (or
David Tybor
Feb 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides many nice examples of logical fallacies.
Molly McCowan
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this book in an RSI (repetitive strain injuries) forum.

I turned to the forum for help when I started to notice-- after months of physical therapy and massage to help with intense pain and nerve problems in my arms and hands--that my upper-body symptoms kept "jumping around." One week it would be numbness in my hands. The next week, stabbing neck pain and headaches. The next, weak and burning forearms.

My medical massage therapist consistently couldn't find anything physical (extre
Morgan Forrest
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you suffer from chronic pain I highly reccommend it. Combined with the Curable app the two have halfed my pain levels.
Kate L
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
the book itself is an outdated bore (lots of freud) but there are a couple solid ideas within it i will try.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book and I appreciate the depths that Sarno goes into when discussing his theory. And I do think he provides a good starting place for dealing with pain that results from repressed emotions. However, I’m not sure I am entirely on board with all of the disorders he lists being solely about repressed emotions. Partly I think that is because this book is more than a decade old. That being said, I think some soul searching can help a person figure out if any of their pain is rela ...more
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I'm currently trying to solve an RSI issue. I had previously read It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals. Funnily enough, that book mentions Dr. Sarno's The Mindbody Prescription, but dismisses it because the authors take offense at the idea that it might be all in your head. And then I read a blog article in which the author took issue with It's Not Carpal Tunnel because the authors claim that RSI is a lifelong problem that can only be managed. The b ...more
4 stars is pending results in 2 months
I've seen this recommended by so many people; he also has a book strictly on back pain. Found it today for $1 at Half Price Books. I've heard so many testimonials about the roots and cures of back pain, which are backed up by what both MDs and DVMs know but don't understand... that the severity of radiological lesions in no way correlates with the severity of clinical pain in spinal disorders. Add to that the mysteries of the related pain syn
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you are new to mindbody principles, it is good, if you are not, it is basic and obvious. So my rating would vary depending on who picked it up...
maybe it would convince some new comers to this now widely accepted fact, that the mind affects the body for real and not just in the old understanding of- in the 'psychosomatic' sense. But if you have already read things like Damasio, Alexander, 'When the Body Says No' or any contemporary neuroscience, don't bother. BUT if you want to recommend a bo
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A life changer because it changed the way I view physical aches and pains. I mean the little aches and the excruciating pains: back pain, stomach aches, searing headaches, lingering pain from physical injuries. Get this: we find it easier to handle physical pain then sit with fear, sadness, grief. Yup, it's true. Only way to find out is use/follow the book to bring yourself some relief from what ails you.

Megan Cardon
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that has any type of pain
Recommended to Megan by: My doctor
I have all sorts of pains in my body that are pretty much unexplained, including chronic headaches. This book has helped me deal with these pains. I suggest this book to anyone who has issues with pain. It is one of those things that might not work for everyone but I say it is worth a try.
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Sarno totally has my number. I dip into this book or one of his other offerings therapeutically whenever I start to get an ominous twinge or ache. Good to have on hand right next to your Merck Manual.
Todd Brelsford
Review about the book, not the TMS theory it covers. Book is VERY repetitive. There is probably only about 50 pages of useful info. The other pages are all rehashes of the useful 50, or stories about people he diagnosed with TMS.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Sarno explains how the brain uses pain in the body by finding weaknesses to distract us from emotional pain. Very good at helping us see how the mind and body are connected. Highly recommend to anyone experience pain.
Risa Fey
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words cannot express how much this book has somehow effected/contributed to/verified/debunked/destroyed everything I know and believe. There is more to think about and consider than just what is presented by Dr. Sarno. Can I give it 10/5 stars?
Heather Bradley
The thinking behind this is solid - I'm sold, but the writing? Meh. Only need to read the first 2 chapters and the last portion, but if it cures the pain ...
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will blow your mind if you have any chronic pain syndromes. Migraines, Fibromyalgia, depression, anything. This man is genius!
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's tough to decide on a rating for this book because although I haven't completely bought in to Dr. Sarno's theory I do believe in many aspects of what he says. Also, the book was very repetitive and very dry, but I don't hold that against Dr. Sarno because he's trying to inform, not entertain. My interest in reading this book is because I have ulcerative colitis, which is one of the conditions that Dr. Sarno attributes to his theory of TMS. I want to believe that his theory is correct, but I ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty radical and amazing theory: Much pain we experience, especially those that can't seem to be accounted for and that are very conditionally (only when XYZ! or always when ABC!) is actually the brain's strategy to distract your conscious mind from repressed emotions. Whether that works by the brain sending signals to deprive oxygen to certain muscles (and often those socially accepted as problematic, like chronic back pack for example nowadays, heartburn before, and ulcers a few decades back ...more
It’s unusual these days to find a self-help book based on Freudian principles. But you needn’t buy into Freud’s philosophy to benefit from The Mindbody Prescription. If you are in pain or suffer from a chronic malady, it’s worth considering the possibility that TMS (tension myositis syndrome) might be the cause. That is, chronic muscular tension due to unconscious emotions. This is a very basic book on the mind-body connection, and is a bit repetitive. However, it’s great for beginners, anyone w ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after researching back pain online and being quite desperate to relieve my severe lower back and buttock pain. I gave this book two stars because while I believe that your emotions can have physical affects on the body, I found it discouraging like much self-help books that focus on emotions. Obviously, if a person is having negative emotions, it would be hard for them to get those emotions under control. I understand that everything takes hard work, but when you are desper ...more
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John E. Sarno, MD was Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. He graduated from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and was board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Sarno served in the U.S. Army Medical Department, 67th Field Hospital-European Theater from 1943 to 1946. He practiced as a family physician for ten yea ...more
“he decides that bringing up children is the woman’s job, his children are in trouble. Either” 0 likes
“To understand the phenomenon of avoidance in TMS one must constantly bear in mind how radically the unconscious mind differs from its conscious counterpart. The unconscious is terrified by the rage and reacts to avoid it by keeping it repressed and employing physical symptoms to aid in that repression. One of Freud’s biographers, Peter Gay, likened the unconscious to a maximum-security prison where all the desperate criminals, the undesirables and unacceptables, are incarcerated under heavy lock and key. In other words, they are repressed. If these feelings are already repressed, you may ask, what is the need for a distraction? The prison analogy is particularly apt; the repressed feelings, like desperadoes, will try to escape. Despite the force of repression, powerful emotions like rage will strive to rise to consciousness. I call it the “drive to consciousness.” Yale” 0 likes
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