Yet often we Christians get the best results from within. The brilliant Dr. John Sarno suggests that if you have any chronic pain or condition such as lower back pain, headaches, stomach pain, or insomnia, that the cure usually comes from your own mind. He labels this pain as TMS -- Tension Myositis Syndrome.
His book The Mindbody Prescription has helped heal countless sufferers via mind-body principles. In my view, these concepts are particularly relevant to Christians: Healing is seen not just as a physical process but as a holistic journey involving the mind, body, and spirit. And I have recovered from significant issues including chronic foot and neck pain by following Dr. Sarno's teachings.
I suggest you read the book directly to learn Dr. Sarno's beliefs. But a very condensed version of his thesis would be: "Our mind doesn't want us to experience difficult emotions and latches onto pain as a distraction from these. The cure is to identify these negative emotions and bring them into the realm of conscious thought."
Before continuing, I should point out that it's important to begin your healing by going to a doctor to get properly examined. Only when you've ruled out disease or injury should you continue with the TMS path.
Integrating TMS Ideas with Christian Faith
- Acknowledging and Confronting Repressed Emotions: Dr. Sarno's emphasis on acknowledging repressed emotions resonates with the Christian practice of confession and introspection. By engaging in prayer and meditation, we seek God's guidance to uncover and confront hidden emotions that may be contributing to physical pain.
- Forgiveness and Letting Go: Forgiveness can be a powerful tool in addressing the anger and resentment often associated with TMS. By practicing forgiveness, both towards oneself and others, we may find emotional release and reduce the stress that contributes to physical pain. For more on this topic, another excellent book (written by a back surgeon) is Back in Control.
- Faith and Trust in God's Plan: Dr. Sarno's approach involves cultivating a mindset of positivity and rejecting fear-based thinking about pain. For us Christians, this translates into trusting in God's sovereignty and plans for our lives, even in the midst of suffering. This trust can alleviate the anxiety and tension that exacerbate TMS symptoms.
- Community Support and Pastoral Counseling: Engaging with a supportive Christian community and seeking pastoral counseling can provide emotional support and guidance. Sharing experiences with fellow believers and receiving spiritual counsel reinforces the mental strategies recommended by Dr. Sarno.
- Biblical Teachings on Mind-Body Connection: The Bible offers insights into the mind-body connection, emphasizing the importance of a peaceful heart and a renewed mind (Proverbs 14:30, Romans 12:2). These teachings also reinforce Dr. Sarno's principles, encouraging believers to cultivate mental and emotional wellness as part of their physical health.
Practical Steps for Christians Embracing TMS Principles
- Daily Prayer and Meditation: Setting aside time for prayer and meditation can help in self-reflection and emotional processing, key aspects of addressing TMS.
- Journaling as a Tool for Self-Discovery: Keeping a journal to explore thoughts and emotions can be an effective way to uncover repressed feelings contributing to pain.
- Engaging in Christian Mindfulness Practices: Practices like mindfulness and contemplative prayer can aid in developing a calm and focused mind, reducing stress and tension.
- Participating in Healing Services and Prayer Groups: Many churches offer healing services and prayer groups focused on physical and emotional healing, providing a communal space for sharing and support.
- Educational Workshops and Seminars: Attending workshops or seminars on TMS and its treatment, especially those integrating a Christian perspective, can be both enlightening and empowering.
Dr. John Sarno's TMS approach offers a path to healing that is both psychologically insightful and spiritually enriching. By embracing these principles within the context of faith, we follow a journey towards physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness. This holistic approach doesn't just alleviate pain, but also fosters a deeper understanding of the self and a stronger relationship with God.
If traditional Western medicine isn't able to provide a lasting cure for your chronic pain or conditions, consider adapting the brilliant approach of Dr. John Sarno instead.