Mind-Body Medicine | David Schechter, MD
Mind-Body Medicine is a fascinating field that I am very passionate about. My mentor in this area was John Sarno, M.D. a true pioneer. He was my inspiration as a medical student at NYU many years ago. Sarno was a unique thinker who had written four popular books linking chronic back pain to emotional tension. Dr. Sarno died in 2017 after a long, fruitful career and a long life.
Sarno’s diagnosis of TMS (tension myositis or myoneural syndrome) has led me to develop a clinical program, written materials, a workbook, a web site, an audio program and help develop, a non-profit Research Foundation (inactive) under whose auspices I did research for several years about this approach. Regardless of your problem, I believe that having a doctor who understands the mind-body link is a big plus.
(updated july 2020) At its essence, mind-body medicine is the understanding that our experiences, our traumas, our joys, and our sorrows affect the body. You could call this brain-body medicine as well. You could describe it as psycho-physiologic medicine. If we are stressed, it usually goes somewhere. This can be a headache, anxiety, back pain, an expected cold, jaw pain, depression, pelvic pain. The split between mind and body is artificial and false. Mind-Body medicine brings these body parts back together into the unified whole that is more consistent with science and with our actual experience of living.
The good news: we can learn to manage stress better. We can understand how emotions affect us and we can get better. Journaling is a tool I use (see The MindBody Workbook below). Another tool is meditation. Another one is psychotherapy. Another one is learning/education– for example, my books and those of my colleagues and mentor.
Reading, studying, online videos, podcasts are all important . Starting with a diagnosis from a doctor who knows how to exclude medically serious issues– structural, biochemical issues, for example– and guide you on the healing path is crucial. I can help you benefit from the mind-body connection as well as understand how it can or may have made you unwell. Chronic pain is a major focus of this work, but other symptoms and issues are also caused by stress.
Pain Management Program
The Mind-Body Workbook
A Thirty Day Program of Insight and Awareness for People with Back Pain and Other Disorders.
Mind-Body Medicine Audio Program
Complete educational program for mindbody treatment of back pain, Tension Myositis Syndrome, and other disorders.
Seligman Medical Institute
A medical research foundation devoted to the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of
Tension Myoneural Syndrome and other mind-body disorders.