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"Because the conventional diagnoses were leading nowhere, and I was very dissatisfied with my results, I simply began to look more carefully at what was going on."
Dr. John Sarno recently spoke with SpiritSite.com about his ideas and
SpiritSite.com: Dr. Sarno, have you seen a change toward the acceptance of mind/body healing approaches during the past decade?
Dr. John Sarno: Yes, people are beginning to think more along these lines than they used to. Itís well known that people are seeking alternative things, and I donít consider what I do to be alternative medicine, but a lot of other people do.
Do you find any change in the medical community -- among doctors -- toward your views?
Practically none. I make some reservations when I say that because doctors have learned about my work Ė I have had a number of them call from around the country and spend some time with me. So certainly there is a group out there. But mainstream medicine? For the most part, no.
Are you training doctors to use your techniques?
I have doctors calling Ė we donít have an official training program, but doctors do come to spend time with me.
In your most recent book, the MindBody Prescription, you suggest that a mind/body approach to healing may work for a variety of ailments. What are some of the most common ailments that may have a mind/body link?
Well, I donít treat other things besides pain problems. But I think that the best way to look at this isnít as an approach, but rather a response to the nature of the problem. So whether weíre talking about back pain or neck pain or shoulder pain, or weíre talking about gastroesophageal reflux or irritable bowel syndrome or migraine headache or tension headache or hayfever or asthma, all of these things seem to be brought on by emotional factors, just as the back pain is. Therefore -- and I do have some evidence for this -- these people will very often respond to the same education program that we use for people with pain.
Many years ago, you reached a point in your career where you began to seek a new approach to healing back pain. What was it that sparked this search?
Again, to clarify, itís not really a new approach to healing back pain. I became disenchanted with the conventional diagnoses Ė this is all a matter of diagnosis, not approach. Because the conventional diagnoses were leading nowhere, and I was very dissatisfied with my results, I simply began to look more carefully at what was going on. You know, itís a little bit like Sherlock Holmes. When I looked carefully I came to the conclusion that no wonder we werenít getting anywhere -- we had no idea what we were treating.
If you could alter the medical school curriculum in order to introduce students to your ideas, what would you change?
Oh wow. Rather than change anything, I would add a course having to do with how the brain influences bodily functions.
Are you still giving seminars on your work?
The seminars are really teachings sessions for patients. In other words, if someone comes to see me, after we confirm the diagnosis, then they begin to attend the teaching sessions.
Thank you so much for your time.
You are very welcome.