This article is based off my perception and process living well with what's called "chronic Illness"
This is not everyone's experience and should not be used in place of medical advice.
This is one of a series on my theory of masculine and feminine model of healing. Or commonly the dance of the subjective and objective worlds of bringing awareness to illness and treatment there-of within a unified field. Treating the inner, perceptive "casual" state with the downstream effects occurring in the physical offer an integrative potential I rarely see within the context of even our most visionary medical advancements. This piece highlights the work of John Sarno.
While some people may cope well with their condition and adjust to their limitations, others may struggle with the emotional and physical toll of their illness. The ways in which individuals process and deal with chronic illness can be influenced by various factors, such as their personality, social support, and access to healthcare.
I found that the modern western medical model completely lacked what I was seeking in regards to coping and processing what I was feeling during my 10 year battle with Lupus and organ failure.
One approach that has helped me and gained attention in recent years for its potential to help individuals cope with chronic illness is John Sarno's work with Tension Myoneural Syndrome (TMS). Sarno's theory proposes that many chronic pain conditions, such as back pain and fibromyalgia, are caused by repressed emotions and psychological stress. According to Sarno, addressing these underlying emotional issues can reduce chronic pain and improve overall health.
I immediately resonated with the connection of the mind and body. I explored this prior to my illness diagnosis surrounding my yoga and mindful breath work classes. It only made sense to continue this following my diagnosis. The time to be contemplative and feel was directly related to bodily information I began to “work” the process while I was being “treated” medically. I began early a process of self-inquiry and taking account of what was happening in my environment, psychosocially, and how I would feel around complicated circumstances. It was almost instant and blatantly obvious. When I experienced something joyful or peaceful, I would feel good. And conversely when I was challenged or feeling stressed, I would physically be affected. That was evident and true for me from the start. I encourage anyone seeking to understand or apply their own “scientific” methods within the context of their illness to explore this work.
For individuals struggling with the emotional impact of chronic illness, Sarno's approach may be helpful in several ways. Firstly, it offers a new perspective on the root cause of their symptoms, which can reduce feelings of frustration and hopelessness. By understanding that their pain may be linked to emotional factors, individuals can begin to explore ways to address those underlying issues and reduce their symptoms.
Secondly, Sarno's approach, and emotional processing in general, can help individuals feel empowered to take control of their health. Chronic illness can often leave individuals feeling powerless and dependent on healthcare providers. By acknowledging the psychological factors that contribute to their symptoms, individuals can adopt new coping strategies and take an active role in their recovery.
Research has also shown that interventions based on Sarno's theory may be effective in reducing chronic pain. In a study published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, participants with chronic pain who received a TMS intervention reported significant improvements in pain, physical function, and mental health. The authors suggest that TMS interventions may be useful for individuals who have not responded to traditional medical treatments.
It is important to note that Sarno's approach along with other self-inquiry methods is not a substitute for medical care and should be used in conjunction with traditional treatments. This is what I have found to offer the best changes for not only treatment but to begin a process of integration which is critical for long term outcomes. Chronic illness is a complex condition that requires a multi-faceted approach to management. While Sarno's work with TMS may be helpful for some individuals, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution particular for those whom do not desire to take accountability for their illness.
People deal with chronic illness differently, and the emotional impact of their condition can vary widely. It is important to begin to study the impacts of work such as John Sarno’s and how it may be helpful for individuals seeking to understand the emotional factors contributing to their chronic pain and adopt new coping strategies. While further research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of TMS interventions and the works of emotional processing, it offers a promising new approach to managing chronic illness. As for me, I could not even imagine what my process would have looked like without this opportunity to take radical responsibility and contribute to my inner healing along side my physical treatments.