Hello, I healed from 27 years of pain and a wide variety of other health problems 11 years ago, after finding Dr. Sarno’s work. The good doctor saved my life, and I have dedicated my life to helping others heal. Everyone experiences pain and unpleasant symptoms at some point in their lives. But when these things alter the quality of life they need to be addressed. The pain is not only diverting the mind’s awareness but is also sending a message of imbalance. Many who are suffering try to piece together this thing called TMS; often confused by what to do, and by conflicting messages. If you are suffering, be of great cheer because healing can occur, it is occurring, and anyone can heal if that is what they unconsciously desire. TMS healing is an esoteric process accepted only by a fortunate few. I suffered a life altering ordeal with TMS. Today—I’m pain-symptom-free and very happy thanks to the good doctor. Last week, I had a phone conversation with Forest about TMS; its current state, its future, Dr. Sarno’s impact, and other TMS topics. It was a lengthy talk, and the main theme was: how can we help people who are suffering? The only way is to provide access to the information about TMS and try to expand that information to the general public through increasing awareness. This TMS Wiki is a great platform for those who are currently seeking answers. Forest contacted me because I recently published a book on TMS called The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse. It is a detailed look at TMS, and the reasons for rejection of TMS that took me 10 years to research and write. I was mentored along the way by the good doctor’s close friend, Marc Sopher, MD.—an excellent TMS physician and great person that I’m honored to call friend. The first third of my book is about my own story/struggle and ultimate victory over suffering using Dr. Sarno’s work as my guide. The middle third is what people need to understand to heal using a wide variety of real life healing examples, and the last part of the book is about life, and childhood, and all those incremental steps that form our personalities that can lead us into the TMS-abyss. The Great Pain Deception shows the many bumpy roads into TMS, and the many roads out. It has been reviewed and endorsed by MDs, Sarno, Sopher, Northrup, Pelletier, Travis, Anderson, and Miller. How did we get here? John E. Sarno, MD, through great insight and the deep desire to heal his patients had discovered decades ago that something was amiss when it came to healing people who were suffering. He had noted that modern therapeutic modalities weren’t working in the majority of sufferers; that there was something else “going on” within those patients. Being an insightful observer, he noted common denominators within them, similar causes and effects that necessitated their symptoms. He came to realize that tension/hidden anger was the source of most all of our health problems from pain to anxiety, dermatological to gastrointestinal, immune to circulatory, fatigue to allergies. People who tried to be good people, and to make everything perfect were suffering at higher rates because they were placing greater demands on themselves, generating great anger that got buried by the persona within their unconscious minds/bodies. The good doctor’s dogged determination to seek the truth has become his legacy as a healer. His 4 books, Mind Over Back Pain, Healing Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, and The Divided Mind have changed the way we now view our health and have created a whole new industry, jump started many new careers, and launched a sea of books on the topic. I hope that the good doctor’s contribution is never forgotten or diminished in any way. My own book is a tribute to all of his work and the many other pioneers who also understood that thoughts and emotions caused effects/symptoms, and that the mind and the body were synonymous by nature. Where are we now? Dr. Sarno is now the avuncular gentle-man that we know today; the discoverer of one of the greatest insights in medical history. What was that discovery? That people’s lives, past and present, attitudes and fears, were the causes of most of their current health problems. He initially labeled this discovery TMS. His personal desire was to eventually have the acronym TMS replaced with PNPS, Psychogenic Neural Pain Syndrome. But he has been using an interim/transitional term, TPS, for Tension Psychogenic Syndrome. However, there are currently over a dozen different replacement acronyms for TMS, each one coined by a new author who has embraced the good doctor’s work and now made it their own. It should never be forgotten that all the variations began with the initial term, TMS, and that the newer versions are all variations on the original concept. Sadly, Dr. Sarno has now retired, leaving behind a beautiful career. But his legacy will live on in the lives of all of us who have healed, and through the professional practices of many others who are now integrating his life’s work into their fields. I’ve recently completed a national radio tour for my book, of syndicated radio stations in New York, Memphis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Boston, and Los Angeles. The result was always the same; people believe that TMS is true for everybody but themselves. They understand the concept but reject it when it comes to their own health because their doctor told them they had a bad knee or back or shoulder, or broken sinus. The inundation of false medical advice over the past 70 years has created what Dr. Sarno rightfully labeled a “nation of the partially disabled.” Sufferers simply cannot think outside the box as they limp and stumble daily over old knowledge. The most difficult part of spreading the TMS message is the ego-driven resistance to anything that people cannot immediately understand, and because of the fact that people really want to believe their doctor is right. Physicians are the ones who create our healthcare realities. If that reality is based on a false assumption the suffering spreads and only those with vested interested come out ahead. Based on misinformation of the past, people are stubbornly clinging to false realities and refusing to believe their bodies are ok physically, protected by the TMS itself—the safe haven in which they can hide. Fibromyalgia sufferers are more often hostile to the mindbody message. Many that I have approached attack me like badgers if TMS is even mentioned. It’s clear why they react this way—but the reason for the response is multifaceted. I can see varying reasons in different people. Dr. Sarno has called TMS a protection mechanism. The pain or unpleasant symptom diverts the mind’s eye away from emotions that are too powerful, too sad, or too threatening. So the brain feels it is providing a favor to the individual by allowing him to not have to face any violent, shameful, guilt-ridden thoughts and emotions; thereby protecting not only the sufferer, but also those around him. And—since fibromyalgia is simply a more severe form of TMS it stands to reason that people would indeed reject the notion of TMS more vociferously. If the symptom exists to protect them from painful emotions and since fibromyalgia is a more severe form of TMS, then it’s clear why fibro sufferers would be abnormally hostile at the notion that there may be emotions in-play just outside their awareness. When the truth threatens to breakthrough it must be condemned by the conscious mind—the more painful the truth the greater the condemnation must be. And so we have this elegant message of TMS that works “virtually every time” and yet most people will not accept it because of the false memes that have been planted in their subconscious. I called Dr. Sarno to tell him my message was being met with great resistance and he laughed and said, “Well…good luck.” There wasn't much he could say. He had been met with great resistance to the truth over his entire career by laymen and colleagues alike. So the main question remains, how do we expand the message from here? Mindbody professionals understand that TMS healing is not a passive modality like giving an injection or handing out a pill. It is something that must be accepted by the sufferers, it cannot be “given” to them. She must be willing to open up to the possibility that her symptoms may be emotion-driven. But as Dr. Sarno once again insightfully declared, “One of the unfortunate realities about working with a disorder like TMS is that most people will reject the idea until they are desperate for a solution.” Early on Dr. Sopher advised me not to argue with people over TMS. The emperor has no clothes. You either see it or you don’t. I have followed his advice closely and only spend my energy and time explaining the process to those who are curious. I walk away from people who want to argue the validity of TMS. Beware the pit-bull and the fibro sufferer, each may turn and bite at any moment—both out of instinct. What is the future of TMS? The future was a main reason that Forest contacted me. He felt that the message could best be spread if we worked together; the pain groups, physicians, psychologists, therapists, counselors, authors and past sufferers. There is strength in numbers. The problem I see is the message getting fragmented, diluted, confusing those who may be open and interested. The biggest danger for the future of TMS healing is if professionals begin sending mixed messages as to what is physical vs. what is psychological—obfuscating the message. One of the reasons Dr. Sarno had so much success was that he stayed steady on his message through the years, only adding value to it as his awareness expanded. The greatest impact on society must be through the medical professionals themselves. Word of mouth on the ground is important but is not integrated as swiftly and powerfully as when the message comes through a position of authority. Another great help may be mass media like Michael Galinsky’s film on Dr. Sarno’s work, “Story of Pain.” Anything and everything will be helpful in telling the world about the mindbody syndrome. I wish Michael good luck on his project; he’s a great guy with great intentions and a big megaphone. There are two TMS “healing basics” that should never be meddled with. First, the most important aspect in healing that should be emphasized is a full belief in the process. If the sufferer cannot get past doubt, deep healing can’t take place. Doubt must slowly be erased through repetition and reinforcement. Second, the desire to heal people should be out of compassion. Part of the cause of suffering today is that healers in the past became distant and took the patient out of the healing equation, foisting upon him advanced medical procedures as surrogates for the physician’s time, listening ear, and powerful touch. Throwing drugs and surgeries and injections and therapies at pain removes the most vital aspect in healing, which is the sufferer himself. As Majid Ali, MD stated, “If a physician can shut up for long enough, the patient will tell him what is wrong….The chronically ill have an intuitive-visceral sense of what is wrong with them.” Deep within they have buried the reason for the current problem due to a covert process called repression. Dr. Sarno also stated that medicine was much better 80 and 90 years ago. The proof that he is correct is shown by the fact that we have the greatest medical advancements in history and yet the epidemic grows worse every decade. Our health is by-and-large an effect of the strength of our personal relationships, past and present. When we take the individual’s life out of the healing solution we remove the most powerful healer with it. Healthcare took a nosedive in the United States when the bedside manner disappeared and was replaced with M & Ms: machines and medications. With the PPDA there is renewed hope to get the patient back into the healing process and to witness a reversal of the relationship between the professional and the patient. The move should be back to patient… from client. Hopefully with this Wiki and the other TMS groups like TMS Help and Rapid Recovery, the information provided by foot soldiers on the ground will always be available to answer questions for anyone who is willing to open their mind with a deep desire to heal.Also, the great hope is that more TMS healers begin to pop up around the world as the truth spreads. Finally, I would like to quickly convey a common problem and typical complaint I hear regarding mindbody healing. Typically it is stated, “I finished reading Dr. Sarno’s book last month and my pain is still here, what am I doing wrong!?!” Pity me that the heart is slow to learn. The faster you try to heal the slower you often heal. Healing is more of a transformational process through self-individuation; a series of steps forward often followed by a few steps back. The concept is not to take the pain away but to take the reason for the pain away through the expansion of natural knowledge. Dr. Sarno stated in the 2004 Medscape interview, “I do not have an approach to dealing with pain but rather the stresses that cause it.” Trying to take pain away is once again focusing on the pain by monitoring progress. A watched pot never boils and a monitored back never heals. People try to heal too fast and the anger and frustration that accompany the feeling of failure generates more anger and tension which further slows healing, and the pain loop continues. It is the paradox of healing. We spend every waking second focused on our health to our own detriment. Every TV ad and most of the health websites are set up to keep people in fear. They are marketing experts playing on the fears of everyone who is in doubt. One website headline recently read, “Your current good health and wellbeing could be hiding a very serious disease!” It’s the business of marketing sickness. If we could only learn how to live instead of how not to die we could be much healthier and happier. So the future of TMS in general depends on how the message is delivered and who delivers it, combined with a common voice, all with the purpose of undoing the damage done by the medical business over the past century. I cannot recall a single back pain sufferer over the past 11 years who hasn’t agreed with TMS, but has followed up that same agreement with, “Yes, but I have degenerated discs and multiple herniations, my doctor told me I did.” It will take great patience and persistence to overcome the damage already done. Over the past 11 years I’ve answered approximately 35, 000 emails on TMS, perhaps many more, and I’ve spoken live on the radio to millions of people about the TMS mindbody process. The main question people ask is, “Ok… I see the point… but what do I do??” That question doesn’t have an easy answer because the human brain is involved. We all learn differently. Our biases and fears, beliefs and biographies are all different. I hope, with the formation of the PPDA, and the existence of the TMS Wiki, TMS Help, and Rapid Recovery that all these questions will be answered as the questions arise. The move is on and it’s a great step forward. It is a return to healing that includes the sufferer who got himself into his current state, and only he can get himself back out. But he needs the guiding compass of knowledgeable and compassionate teachers. The Latin word for doctor means, “to teach.” Good luck, and know that healing can take place if the belief is deep enough. It’s not always simple knowledge that heals people; it often takes much work and repetition, and patience. I’ve helped hundreds to heal and you can heal too. Sometimes lives, lifestyles and perceptions must change, but in the end it’s worth it. Pain has no place to hide in a person who is deeply happy and fulfilled, absent of conflict and armed with the correct information. I will try to answer any questions here if I can. If you doubt you can heal don’t worry, most of us who healed also doubted. Answers are all around to assist you. If you want to heal, you will heal. This is the good news. Happiness first and good health will certainly follow… Steven Ray Ozanich The Great Pain Deception .