Dr. Andrew Weil, TMS, Pain, and Healthy Aging Do our repressed emotions cause pain? One of my best friends cane down with a bad case of hives on his honeymoon. He spent most of it in a hospital bed in Hawaii, apart from his bride. Yes, he told me later, he was a basket case of anxiety and stress about getting married. Well-known as an alternative and complemenrary medicine doctor, Andrew Weil, MD, a great friend of TMSWiki and believer in TMS healing, tells in his book Spontaneous Healing, the success story of a man who recovered from terrible back pain by reading Dr. Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain. Dr. Weil wrote: “I had several reasons for recommending Dr. Sarno's book. I had met a number of patients who had tried every imaginable treatment for back pain, then had gone to Dr. Sarno and been cured. The cure consisted simply of reading his book, going for an individual appointment, and attending evening lectures in which he explained how the mind produced the pain in the back. This sounded too good to be true, but I remembered the one disabling episode of back pain I had had; it was clearly related to my emotional state--grief over the simultaneous loss of two close relationships--and it disappeared suddenly after three weeks. It never returned. “Then I saw two cases of men with severe chronic back pain that disappeared as if by magic when the men fell in love. Finally, I had just attended an interesting professional conference of a group called the North American Academy of Musculoskeletal Pain, where I was invited to give a keynote address on the meaning of pain. The speaker after me gave a fascinating lecture on the lack of correlation between the subjective experience of back pain and the objective measures of musculoskeletal dysfunction, such as X-rays and MRI scans. He showed X-rays and scans of patients that looked so awful you could not believe that these people could stand or walk, yet they were free of pain and had normal mobility. In other cases, people were immobilized by pain, yet their spines looked normal. To my mind, all of this information was consistent with Dr. Sarno's philosophy. “ Dr. Weil’s advice for others who suffer from back pain: "Read Sarno's book and see if it rings true for you .... People seem to have a hard time accepting the theory until they've exhausted all other remedies or, like me, are facing the knife." Last night I watched Dr. Weil’s DVD on Healthy Aging and it was wonderful, pure TMS knowledge although he never mentioned that word directly. He said today society rejects aging and focuses on youth and staying young. But people today live longer than at any other time in history. Many people look for a “Fountain of Youth” in anti-aging medicines including hormone medicine. “But nothing reverses aging,” says Dr. Weil. “Aging is the law of the universe. Everything ages. Don’t be in opposition to aging. Learn how to reduce diseases such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s. “Live long and well by embracing aging. Don’t try to deny it. Age gracefully and healthfully by following this program: Dr. Weil’s program to Healthy Aging: Diet. Avoid processed and canned foods, snack foods, sweets such as candy, cakes, cookies. Eat whole grains; sweet potatoes; beans; nuts (walnuts are best); spices such as ginger, tumeric, rosemary; fresh fruits and vegetables of all colors (organically grown is best), and take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. Avoid vegetable oil, use extra virgin olive oil instead for cooking and salads. Exercise. Going to a gym to workout is good, but you can get good exercise from just daily activities such as house cleaning, mowing the lawn, walking outdoors in good weather, indoors in bad); doing stretching exercises, yoga, tai-chi. Get enough rest and sleep. He recommends an afternoon nap of 10 to 15 minutes. Manage stress through deep breathing and meditation. Exercise your mind. (Not Weil, but my suggestions are watch television quiz shows and try to guess the answer before a contestant does; work crossword puzzles, read, play Scrabble or Trivial Pursuits or other games that make you think and challenge your memory). Be social. Be with others if possible, join groups, try not to just be alone. Remain flexible in mind and body. Roll with changes in life. (There are a lot of TMS techniques for this including forgiving oneself and others.) One of the things I learned from Dr. Weil’s Healthy Aging program was the benefits of the spice turmeric. Its active ingredient is curcumin and the spice has been used in India for more than 2,500 years as a health supplement. It has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties, proving beneficial in treatment of many health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. When taken with cauliflower it has been shown to prevent prostate cancer or stop its existing growth. Tumeric also is a natural painkiller and helpful in weight mangement. Tumeric can be taken in power or pill form and can be added to salads or soups. Dr. Weil has a 12-session program that covers the above and additional ways to achieve healthy aging. Go to his web sites to learn more about his program and books, CDs, and DVDs. For me, deep breathing and laughing are two of the best ways I healed from severe back pain and deal with emotional stress when it comes. It also helps not to read my mail, look at my email, watch television news, or answer the telephone. Our block was without electrical power for three days and four nights a few years ago and I didn’t miss it. I read books when the sun was out, spent more time with my beloved dog Annie, and listened to relaxing music on my battery-operated Walkman. Here’s a photo you might enjoy. I think the men were focusing on their TMS pain and repressed emotions.