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The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,464 ratings  ·  232 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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Jasmine I liked Tim Parks' "Teach Us to Sit Still." He too is an atheist, but found relief through acknowledgement that his pain was caused by his brain and m…moreI liked Tim Parks' "Teach Us to Sit Still." He too is an atheist, but found relief through acknowledgement that his pain was caused by his brain and meditation to heal the mindbody disconnect. And, if you're willing to bear with me, Emily Nagoski's "Burnout" is an excellent book on addressing the emotions that lead to TMS. It is written for women and focuses on many women-specific issues (at least in the traditional sense), however the information is sound and applicable to all human beings.(less)
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although great strides have been made in neuroscience and mindbody understanding since this was written, I still think this stands as the pioneering work it was and still is.
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
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Y'all I know this book's premise seems so goddamn incredulous. It's form is tedious and kinda sloppy, and Sarno occasionally jumps to certain conclusions that are somewhat dubious... but this book saved my hand, and possibly my life.
In my junior year of college (2018, around the same time that I had begun transitioning) my hand's health was progressively getting worse. I was diagnosed with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, RSI, golfer's elbow, you name it. My shoulder was also always uncomfortably stif
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
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?
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.
Sondra Retzlaff
Jan 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, health
I'm so tired of living with pain, intense chronic pain. I've been chasing diagnoses for most of my life. A friend at work introduced me to the work of Nicole Sachs (The Cure for Chronic Pain), and I started listening to the episodes of interest on her podcast and checking out her website. That led to checking out Dr. John Sarno. In his work, Dr. Sarno is quite clear that it is first our responsibility to get significant pain or possible infections checked out by medical doctors to address or rul ...more
Dec 20, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don’t get me wrong, the concepts in this book are essential for someone in chronic pain to understand.

I think the reason this book is so highly rated is because once you explore the possibility that your pain is not the cause of any structural issue, but rather your mind, you achieve a sense of freedom, relief, and control.

However, I think this research is dated and the reasoning as to why your mind is sending pain signals was a little questionable for me. The author clearly tries to relate to
Tammy (Wyse) Schoch
There’s a few gems in here.

But they’re covered over with endless repetition, and it feels like a snake oil salesman’s approach. If the patient doesn’t accept his ideas then he can’t recover. Such circular reasoning - “if you accept my thesis you will recover. If not, you won’t. If you don’t recover, you need psychotherapy to keep exploring my thesis.” The thesis is that it’s unconscious rage which causes many common ailments, and once one learned of this fact, the rage will no longer have a neg
Kay Chandler
I learned a lot from reading this book so I definitely think it’s worth reading. Pain of all different types that we regularly feel (including headaches for me) are mindbody experiences so can be addressed by our conscious mind recognizing that and calling it out. I’m a believer in medicine and science, and I’m also a believer that are brains are an integral part of our body and what we experience. I’ve tried to see and call out pain as the result of my brain providing a distraction from somethi ...more
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.
Peaches & Sunshine
While Dr. Sarno contributed greatly to the field of pain psychology (and therefore medicine), some aspects of his relatively new thinking have been updated. Because there have been so many advances in the field, there are several other more accurate, more accepting (read: less stubborn) resources available to those wanting to learn about how chronic pain works. See the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association website for recommended books and other resources.

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
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I've been doing a deep dive into Dr. John Sarno's work, and this is the second book of his that I've read in less than a month. The ideas are kind of mind blowing, and for some are going to be completely unbelievable.

What I am learning from these books is that almost all chronic pain is the result of reduced oxygen to an area of the body caused by stress, emotions, repressed memories, and social programming. And that injuries like slipped discs, torn rotator cuffs, minor meniscus tear
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
Tyler Cook
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book is a miracle! My back was injured when I was hit by a truck 3 1/2 years ago. I had disc problems, torn muscles & torn ligaments. They never healed. I gave up all the physical activities I once enjoyed. I was lead to this book at my breaking point. I’ve tried a dozen or so other things to heal my back. I’d already lost most of my money from treatments, underemployment and unemployment. I was at the pit of despair. I felt sad and angry so I bought the book instantly. This book
This was written over 20 years ago and if you don't pay attention you won't know what the Hell is going on . Hint , Make note of what TMS is , it's only defined once in the book even though it is mentioned on practically every page .
Basically Dr. Sarno postulates that most pain results from the tension we hold from not letting go of inner rage . Okay , my back hurts from lawn work today , so :
I HATE THAT REESE WITHERSPOON thinks I give a rat's arse about her bbook selections . Wow ! I feel bett
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.

Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I just began using the techniques, and they worked immediately. I plan to dig up all my rage and really heal back, stomach, headache, tension & anxiety maladies.

I knew it was something, but rage didn't occur to me... and I AM conscience angry, can't wait to unearth the old rage too!
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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

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“You begin to wonder whether you have lived a full life. And, strange as it may seem, strong negative feelings about your mother or father have not gone away; instead, they continue to be repressed and may give rise to symptoms.” 0 likes
“he decides that bringing up children is the woman’s job, his children are in trouble. Either” 0 likes
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