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Book New TMS therapy book by Dr. David Schechter

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BruceMC, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    While moderating the TMS Wiki chat group today (Dec. 27, 2014), a drop-in named Deb made me aware of a new TMS therapy book just published by Dr. David Schechter entitled Think Away Your Pain (November 2014):


    From the Amazon blurb:

    "This book teaches the TMS healing method where changing thought, expressing feelings, and understanding can and do change the neural circuitry of the brain and eliminate the pain. Dr. Schechter discusses research supporting the approach including research by the author."

    It's being billed as an updating of Dr. Sarno and seems to rely on a system of cognitive retraining. Has anyone on the Forum had experience using Dr Schechter's program? The more tools we have at our disposal the better.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, Bruce, thanks for posting about this. I had a great conversation with Dr. Schechter on Christmas Eve, but hadn't had a chance to post about it yet.

    I think that this is an important new book. Dr. Sarno has endorsed the book, writing, “I highly recommend Dr. Schechter’s book. It is readable, accessible, and insightful, and based on his long history in the diagnosis and treatment of Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS).”

    For people who don't know of Dr. Schechter already, he is the most experienced TMS doctor in current practice. His TMS website also appears to be the oldest in continuous operation, having first been registered in 1997:
    His CDs, YouTube video and DVD helped me in my own recovery.

    He has also helped to build the incredibly active LA TMS community. If you check out our list of TMS Doctors and Therapists you'll see that 30 of the 77 known TMS therapists are in the LA area. I suspect that that is largely due to Dr. Schechter's influence, as having a doctor in a city who is actively diagnosis patients can lead to a virtuous cycle of referrals that can help more TMS therapists build their skills while they get established.

    During our call, he told me that he created his patient panel DVD because he believed that people who have recovered from TMS have ideas about healing that are worth sharing - a viewpoint that I respect and agree with. He mentioned that for a while he had a "TMS Mentors" program going in LA, where successful patients would mentor one another. (People have suggested that we could run such a program, but I don't see it happening, for legal, financial and operational reasons.)

    I haven't read the book yet, but I did purchase it on Kindle and it looks great. There is so much excellent research on the brain that has been conducted in the last decade, and I love that he incorporates some of this work. I think that that is important to do.

    Here's his YouTube channel:
  3. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Bruce, Forest - i'll make sure I buy a copy.
    North Star likes this.
  4. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    Dear Bruce, Forest, and Mike,
    I'm just checking in with this thread as I am the author of Think Away Your Pain. It represents the current state of my thinking about TMS, a condition that I have treated for over 25 years.

    As to what it is, I wouldn't necessarily call it a TMS therapy book and I wouldn't necessarily call it a cognitive retraining book. But what I really tried to do is create a clear, hopefully concise, well organized, and easy to understand book for several groups of readers. Individuals with no awareness of this condition, those who've already read other books on the subject but are looking for a different perspective, and even a section for healthcare professionals with an ultimate goal of having more of them be interested in potentially diagnose and treat TMS.

    As Forest mentioned I was fortunate to receive Dr. Sarno's endorsement for the book, and I explained to him that I felt that he had covered the psychology of TMS extremely well in his four books on the subject.

    So I tried moving forward and utilizing the scientific evidence that has come to us over the last 15 or 20 years that supports TMS my focus is more on the brain, the central nervous system, and neural pathways. Obviously psychology is still at the essence of this work but this is what I was thinking about as I wrote and rewrote this book over many years and finally finished it this fall. When you read the book you get a sense for the diagnosis and the psychology of an individual with TMS, learn important lessons about pain (Seven Lessons), and understand the 12 stages of healing that I find patients go through on the way to ultimately recovering from their TMS condition.
  5. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Sounds good to me. I think I'm getting this.
    North Star likes this.
  6. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I downloaded the "sample" of the Nook version, and the first few pages look interesting, but it wasn't enough to distinguish this book from the other books I have read. So before I plunk down my money and invest my time reading it, I'd like to know if it contains any significant improvements in treatment options that are either easier or more effective than what is recommended in other books.
  7. Boston Redsox

    Boston Redsox Well Known Member


    I agree basically all the tms books in my opinion are basically of the same back bone, on the definition of tms and how to face your emossions and to not repress them and not to react but to respond to them. Continue physical activity and don't fear the pain.

    Everybody seems to bring a little twist to there treatment which is great. Do the sep...journal threw it,mediate laugh and most important is self care. Do not rush the healing and give your self a break a few days a week.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Like that concept about altering neural circuitry by expressing (rather than repressing) your deepest feelings. The question is, of course, how deep down do those changes extend and whether (or not) they can alter disease states more serious than TMS? Wait 10 years and find out. Will have to check out Dr. Schechter's book simply because in it he attempts to address the gray area where psychotherapy and new findings in neuroscience overlap. New knowledge develops at those points where different fields of study come into contact.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  9. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome! I am jazzed about this book and will purchase it after I finish posting here. Thanks for calling it to our attention, Bruce. And Doc - thanks for chiming in on this thread. Consider me an eager student.

    Blessings to you all as we kick off a new (and hopefully painfree) year!
    Forest likes this.
  10. cax

    cax New Member

    I was reading Dr. Schechter's book and came across the following in chapter III under When There Is an Issue with the Body.

    With structural injury or damage, the pain may be present constantly or most of the time. The pain you experience typically varies depending upon how the painful area is being moved or stretched.

    Then he goes on to say in the next section that the patient did not improve with TMS treatment, but additional MRI with wider view showed a tumor.​

    For those of us that still trying to believe TMS instead of structural, it raises doubts. I have low back pain and other pains. When I sit (move and stretch to seated position puts strain on low back), it causes additional pain the longer I feel the stretch (strain) of being seated. Does that mean with additional tests, they may find something structural? Keep working at TMS, but as long as the pain is there, do you ever know it is not structural?
  11. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi cax,

    It sounds like it might be helpful to you to go to a doctor to rule out anything structural.

    Doing so is always a vital first step. For example, broken bones can cause pain in various parts of the body. If your pain was due to a broken bone, you'd want to know about it, right? A broken bone is a structural problem, meaning that there is a structure (i.e. a bone) that has a specific problem (i.e. it's broken). It is always important to rule out structural problems before assuming something is TMS.

    In general, there are certain things that every TMS doctor must rule out, such as infections, fractures, or tumors. Good treatment starts with good diagnosis, because you can't treat something correctly when you don't know what it is.

    Now, if you have a broken bone, I'd bet that it would hurt more when you moved it or put weight on it. Of course, if you had TMS, it might do exactly the same thing. If your symptoms increase the longer that you sit, then that is probably simple conditioning. However, diagnosis is a complicated thing and I don't think it would be responsible to attempt to diagnose you because none of us are doctors here.

    If you haven't read about conditioning, then you definitely should. It's explained in most TMS books because it helps us understand why our symptoms can increase when we do certain things. It might help to put your mind at ease.

    However, once you've taken sensible steps to rule out anything serious (like seeing a doctor), then it is up to you to decide to accept the diagnosis. For many TMSers, there is always a niggling fear: "what if this isn't TMS?" And if that happens with you, you need to find a responsible way of dealing with that fear. You've got to look at the steps you've taken to rule out anything serious and decide if they are, objectively speaking, "enough." If they are, then it's time to use tools like evidence sheets to overcome your fear and accept the diagnosis.
  12. cax

    cax New Member

    Thanks for the suggestions - yes, I have seen doctors and had MRI's and other imaging tests like the patient described in chapter III of Think Away Your Pain. In the book, Dr. Schechter describes the patient not responding to TMS treatment, so he had an additional MRI performed which eventually identified a structural problem.

    I imagine most patients here have had tests that did not reveal major structural problems and are now trying TMS. If they do not get enough relief from TMS treatment, maybe they continue see doctors for more tests...

    Much TMS success depends on belief and acceptance, but if structural, then TMS treatment will not succeed. As you said - "up to you to decide to accept the diagnosis", which is what I am trying to do. I will try evidence sheets as you have suggested.
    Forest likes this.
  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    It sounds like you're on the right track. :)
  14. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    Agree with the importance of clarity-- a clear diagnosis of TMS if possible. But it is difficult to get this given the paucity of physicians with expertise in this area. Also, as I discuss in the book, the "gray" area TMS cases where, I believe, there can be structural contribution but clear evidence of TMS as well are challenging both for patient and practitioner.

    I also wanted to mention the book is now available as an AUDIBLE BOOK on audible or amazon, itunes. To my knowledge, the first audible version of a book other than Dr. Sarno's classic series, to directly address TMS.
    Yinlin likes this.
  15. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    I might as well be the one to ask. Dr. Schechter, respectfully, there have been several posts recently expressing dismay with your endorsement of the Back2Life device which seems inconsistent with a TMS approach. Could you explain?
  16. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    I am glad you asked, although I was not aware of such posts. What I have learned in 25+ years of practice is that there are people who are ready and willing to accept a TMS diagnosis and others who are not. As a physician, I am healing patients with a variety of techniques and methods. As you know from Think Away Your Pain, acute and chronic pain, for example, are very different issues in many patients.
    I try to heal people in the most effective way for that person. I also believe TMS is a diagnosis, not a religion or a cultic belief. Therefore, when asked to evaluate this device in my office, I found that people who were not moving, not using their bodies at all, stuck in chronic pain (and either not a candidate for tms or unable to grasp its concepts), lied on the floor, relaxed, used the machine and felt better (I let at least a dozen people use it, some multiple times).
    So I therefore agreed to endorse the device. When interviewed for over thirty minutes, and even in the clips they used, I emphasized the importance of activity/movement (activation), of hope, and of the emotionally relaxing effect of the machine. I feel all of these are compatible with healing. I hope this clarifies the issue.
  17. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    Thank you. To follow up though, is the effect any different than (for example) some gentle stretching or yoga would be? The website talks about the device being revolutionary, aligning the spine, releasing built-up pressure between vertebrae, ergonomic support providing perfect posture, and so forth. As you know, those all sound like structural bogeymen for those of us in the mindbody world.
  18. DocDave

    DocDave TMS Physician and Author

    I do not own the patent for the device, I did not invent the device. I have no control over their marketing or their website. It is an interesting device (I have used it myself to test it out) that stretches you out a bit and gives you 12 minutes to lie still and relax. It is not expensive.
    I would prefer people do gentle stretching or yoga, but for some who are stuck in inactivity or fear, and the only thing they see is a TV commercial that tells them that passive motion may help.... I felt that is preferable as a first step, not a final step, toward rehabilitation and better health. Some people are stuck in such a fear/pain cycle that passive movement may be the only thing that they will try.
    These real world choices are challenging and I made a decision to endorse this that is not popular with the core TMS crowd and I understand that. I even received one aggressively stated "attack" email from a disappointed TMS "follower". Note I said "follower", not patient. Most TMS doctors use other treatments, when appropriate. Dr. Hanscom does surgery. Others use medication of a variety of sorts.
    My great joy is curing with TMS diagnosis and treatment. However, I heal people in a variety of ways.
    Tennis Tom and Ftaghn! like this.
  19. pspa

    pspa Well known member

    Thank you for explaining your perspective.
  20. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Observing some video of the device in use, the first thing that I felt was a happiness that patients were experimenting with the experience of new motions. It also seems soothing, like being rocked on a massage table. My impression is one of building confidence, and getting "support" through the device's passive action, and the support of the soothing factor. I am happy for some long-term pain sufferer to have this kind of breakthrough, and support.
    Tennis Tom likes this.

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