I thought I should record something here that happened to me yesterday afternoon because it seems to illustrate some of the principles behind Dr. Sarno's TMS theory. After lifting weights at the gym during which I did a bunch of leg curls and presses (which typically makes my sciatica flare up), I decided to take a walk on a local nature preserve to push my range a bit further and see if the subsequent recovery resulted in a lessening of symptoms. I drove over there and just as I was leaving the parking lot an acquaintance from Vermont drove up and suggested we hike together. Well, the first part of the 2 mile course is a steep uphill during which my TMS and sciatic leg pain usually acts up. But as we walked along we started talking about his recent knee operation and that led to my explaining Dr. Peter Levine's theories of traumatic reenactment in his book Waking the Tiger. About half-way through our hike the heavens opened and the rain started pouring down and we walked faster and faster to get back our cars, but kept up our conversation. My focus on the conversation while trying to walk faster to avoid getting soaked distracted me from the increasing levels of pain that I usually experience while hiking that steep course, so that when we reached the parking lot, still talking all the while about Levine, I discovered I had "forgotten" the pain in my left leg. In other words, by concentrating on a rational dialog in the neo-cortex portion of my brain it seemed I had actually short-circuited the programmed pain response that I usually experienced while walking this course alone. Of course, the rain also made me pay attention to simply walking and getting back as soon as possible, so there was no mental space left over for me to obsess over the TMS pain syndrome. Directing my conversation outward toward another intelligence also distracted me from my habitual monitoring of my leg and back pain. Broke the mind-body cycle in other words. When I got back home, there was a great feeling of relaxation and absence of pain (although the left leg was still weaker than the right). Last night I also slept and had some healing dreams, but that's another story. My point is that just relaxing using Yoga, acupunture or other modalities is fine, but unless something distracts your fundamental attention from your pain symptoms, it seems that they will amplify and persist, probably due to the typical obsessive-perfectionist nature of the TMS personality type. The sudden unexpected arrival of my acquaintance from Vermont also changed the habitual patterns I had grown used to while hiking on the preserve alone at sunset. The sudden downpour and my attention on explaining Levine's theories of trauma also broke my habitual programmed responses to a typical hike I had taken many, many times. Anybody else had similar experiences they'd like to share? Sure sounds like breaking your habitual programmed responses to everyday repetitive activities is necessary to end the cycle of TMS pain. Easier said than done, but last night a bunch of fortunate accidents occur in the right pattern to shake me out of my mental and physical rut.