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Question on benefits of TMS

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by emjbulls, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. emjbulls

    emjbulls New Member

    I recently moved from TX to MI. As a result of the move, I've had to switch doctors (including pain specialist, rheumatologist, eye doctor - for secondary autoimmune diseases).

    The pain specialist here requires all people to have at least one appointment with a local psychologist who does pain management techniques. I had my appointment with him and one of the things he recommended was going through Dr. Schubiner's program on TMS.

    I'm game for trying anything that will help. I've done a cursory glance about what is out there on TMS and something I keep seeing is that TMS may not work with people with specific medical conditions since there is a known physical reason associated with tissue destruction. The specific conditions that I've seen referred to in many places are cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

    I had my first rheumatoid arthritis issue in 2004 when I developed a very rare pregnancy complication. I had my first major RA flare in 2006. In 2006 I was diagnosed with pan-rheumatoid arthritis and Raynaud's syndrome. I continued to deteriorate but because my blood work was negative, they knew it was something autoimmune given my symptoms but they didn't know what it was. I was finally diagnosed in April 2011 with rheumatoid arthritis. It is definitive. There is no denying it because I test blood positive now. In addition, I do have secondary Raynaud's and secondary Sjogren's as rheumatoid arthritis complications. I do qualify as having a disability and I do get some good parking to go along with it.

    The meds that I'm on for my RA (and secondary conditions) are meloxicam (anti-inflammatory), procardia (for the raynauds), prescription mouthwash (due to the sjogrens - I also had tear duct plugs installed for the sjogrens), flexeral (muscle spasms), plaquenil (an anti-malaria medication that mimics steroids to help suppress the immune system to lower inflammation that mimics steroids without the long-term side effects associated with long-term steroid use), Enbrel (a biological agent that suppresses the immune system and is the main medication used to slow down the progression of the rheumatoid arthritis - I still get the swelling and inflammation daily but this slows down the destructive nature of rheumatoid arthritis), Butrans (a patch to help with the pain), and Norco to help with breakthrough pain (I take 1-4 a day, most notably in the morning when the RA stiffness is at its worst, at night when all my joints are swollen just from getting through the day, and other times needed (e.g. I have a lot of breakthrough pain during rainy times and living in MI isn't helping with that.

    My concern is that a lot of the things I've seen say that TMS is not effective for things like RA. Is there still benefit in a TMS program for people who do have a disease with known tissue destruction?
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, I do know that Norman Cousins beat his RA by watching comedies and telling jokes. IOWs: Laughing it up. I also believe I read where RA and other AI disorders often occur in people with emotionally repressive coping styles. I can't really see how doing Dr Schubiner's program in Unlearn Your Pain would interfere with your conventional treatments for RA and the other conditions you describe, especially if the pain management specialist recommends it. Incidentally, there is a big connection between repressed emotionality and the development of AI disorders. Check out Dr Gabor Mate's book When the Body Says No along with his talk on the subject in the Media tab section of this Forum:


    Hope this gives you some added confidence about following Howard Schubiner's program.
  3. emjbulls

    emjbulls New Member

    There is no cure for RA. It can go into remission, but there is no beating it. I am all about trying whatever could help but I feel like buying pipe dreams and being unrealistic about what having this disease means doesn't help.

    That being said, it is interesting what you said on the mind connection to it. There is a stress component to it. People with RA are more likely to flare if stressed and the flare is likely to be more severe if stressed. If someone is in the middle of a crisis, it's more likely to manifest the first time (and exacerbate flares). I don't think it's a coincidence mine progressed to finally being able to test positive right at the tail end of my divorce even though I had exhibiting symptoms for years. It was the first time they could point to bloodwork and say definitively it was RA. They know for sure that someone has to have a hereditary link to it. Typically people will have certain genetic markers or other people in their family with autoimmune diseases. Then a person has to have a trigger. What is one person's trigger may not be another person's trigger and there is a lot of hypotheses out there, all which show some level of statistical significance. Smoking, certain pollutants, a physical trauma like a car accident, virus, bacteria, fungi, hormonal changes, traumatic life event all could be someone's potential trigger.

    I'm willing to try it because having RA sucks. Obviously it can't stop my joints from destroying themselves but even if it gives me tools to help deal with the pain better it could be beneficial. Thanks or the input!
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    This sounds very much like the same pattern of symptom development that Steve Ozanich called Phase 4 TMS: The Calm After the Storm in his book The Great Pain Deception (2011) that we've been discussing in our on line chat on Tuesday afternoons. In Phase 4 TMS, the pain occurs during the calm that occurs after a long period of stress where you've been holding your emotions down. That's when you have to confront all the emotions you've been avoiding during the crisis. The autonomic nervous system reactions that lead to TMS pain are very similar to reactions that sometimes occur in parallel in the autoimmune system where, as you know only too well, RA occurs. Of course, I'm not qualified as an M.D. to explain those connections in your own case, but I thought you should know that they do seem to exist, at least anecdotally if not verified scientifically by double-blind random experiments. You may want to listen to this interview with Steve from our Media section:


    His book, incidentally, is really very good and well worth studying in detail if you are suffering from any form of chronic pain. It also sounds from your description of RA that what Norman Cousins did was force his Rheumatoid Arthritis in a long period of remission that he initiated himself by changing his internal state of mind. Such changes can indeed alter the biochemistry of the gray matter. That's why repetition is so necessary and effective in the TMS healing process I would suggest.
  5. emjbulls

    emjbulls New Member

    Unfortunately, I am an academic so I have hard time taking as fact anything that is not statistically significant in peer reviewed journals where I can look at the studies myself to help determine how well the statistical work was done. I may not know medicine, but I know statistics and there is a huge difference between anecdotal (which I have just in my own case between the divorce and the timing of the worsening of the RA) and something that can be stated with more authority.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    I empathise. In some of my more recent posts I have been flagging a concern that people are over eager to attribute all ills to tms when this is plainly not the case. I have mistakenly been following pure tms healing protocol for around three years now and my problem has been escalating in severity. Last month I found out that I actually do have something wrong and it is something progressive which explains my symptom escalation. I believe there are undoubted boons to embracing elements of tms healing, not the least that Forest has collated things very well and presents them in a structured way. However the fundamental premise of tms healing demands than one shuns physical interventions and for people in our situation this is little short of insanity. To the point of exhaustion I say that all illnesses have mind-body components but this does not make them tms. It is telling that tms doctors recognise this in their own lives. Dr. James Alexander for instance, is not treating his cancer with the tms protocol because it is not tms. I think it is very important that the tms community consider these issues and not push them aside in zealous adherence to a theory that is beautifully esoteric in many ways. It only adds to the confusion and leads to people like me believing that their doubt is part of the strategy, that one is 'tms-ing', distracting and all other elements of the vicious cycle.

    There is a balance to be found and I am slowly finding it. I pray you do too.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  7. Pandagirl

    Pandagirl Peer Supporter

    I can't recall where I saw the references to the study, but depth journaling has been shown to reduce the symptoms and severity of RA. I think addressing stress, negative thoughts, repressed emotions, toxic relationships, and anything else that is troubling you at your core will have an impact on your health. I enjoyed the book Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin. As an academic, you might appreciate her research.
  8. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm in a profession that puts a lot of emphasis on peer reviewed research, as well. When I first discovered TMS, I was put off by the dearth of research supporting it's effectiveness. However, I was also in a lot of pain and desperate. I started to do the 28 day program in Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain and had an immediate reduction in pain and other symptoms. This is clearly anecdotal information only, but for me it changed my life. But I clearly have TMS, having ruled out everything else over the years.

    So there is the professional me who cannot state unequivocally that TMS healing techniques work, since the peer reviewed research is not there to support it. And then there is the person who is a friend, mother, sister, aunt and pain-afflicted human being, who just wants to share the heck out of this life changing information because it may, just may, change someone's life for the better like it has mine.
    yb44 and Pandagirl like this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, I can see where professionally you would want to see more peer reviewed research to validate TMS, but it looks like you are not
    a Doubting Thomas but a believer. In any case, I think spreading the word about TMS is a good thing and can help others.
    I had a couple over last night for dinner and they really tuned in to what I told them about Sarno and SteveO and their books and
    philosophy. They had other names for it, but when I said "repressed emotions," they agreed that's where their pain comes from.

    When I want to convince anyone that TMS healing techniques work, I tell them to look at the people who have written reviews
    for Sarno's books at amazon.com books. There are some terrific examples of TMS healing there.
    Ellen likes this.
  10. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I wouldn't give any credence to peer review journals or statistical numbers. If I would have done that, I would be dead today. If you look at Lissa, and Shin Ichiro Terayama, and Evy McDonald, among many others, the body is only reacting to an imbalance, a deeper need. They would all be dead if they had listened to the statistics. Numbers and statistics are the problem. I can't recall a case in the past 12 years that someone didn't think they were in the "2%" of Dr. Sarno's survey, that didn't heal. Numbers and stats are guided-images that pull you into a destructive orbit. They are limiters. I agree 100% with Lissa, 4% of people survive from pancreatic cancer because they're told that only 4% survive from pancreatic cancer. The body immediately begins to match the perception.

    Everything is from a mindbody response with the exception of injuries, congenital disorders, and extreme dietary deficiencies. If the symptom remains, it's because that which drives it remains. If you can't stop the process then there's a deeper need at play, you don't cast out the process.

    I would always treat cancer as TMS, as part of The Mindbody Syndrome. It may take more, such as Terayama did, which is the way I would go, through string resonance. But there's also more, such as dietary changes, spiritual connection, etc. The body breaks down for a reason, it doesn't simply fail. There is always cause and effect as Leonard Susskind challenged Stephen Hawking on and won.

    I have a good friend who caught his wife in bed with someone. In a short time, he got cancer of his corneas--the mechanism by which he was shamed. He left his whole stressful life behind, ran away, moved to a farm, a slow life with fresh air and time to reflect, moving into harmony. The surgeons at The Ohio State University were amazed. They told him, "Whatever the hell you're doing, keep doing it!" They had no explanation of why his symptom faded on its own, but he knows, and so do "eye." I spoke with him yesterday and he's at peace and healthy. He has no idea what TMS is, but he knew deep within what to do. He didn't treat his cancer like cancer, he did it, unbeknownst to him, through mindbody healing. This is not to say that we may not need help from science, but how much do we lean on to avoid the cause of the effect?

    Denying that there is a force beyond what you can see, that is driving your symptoms, gives power to that force.

    I would consider myself an academic even if others don't think I am. I think it's a useless label at some level, that does no good. It is the studies that are killing us, because we put our beliefs in them, and not in ourselves. If I would have listened to studies I wouldn't be here. Studies are man's limitations on himself, as defined by himself. But what does man know? I read a study last week that said back pain came from pronated feet. Useless dribble. Millions of dollars wasted in the name of science, the oroborous, keeping itself alive at the same time it kills itself. I do believe in science, but to what cause? It must be aimed in the right direction.

    If someone needs to feel that they were unlucky in life, and that their symptoms are "real." Then they need their symptom for deeper personal reasons. There's no shame, we all have deep needs. The symptom is their current perception of their self-constructed reality. That reality they have chosen then imprisons them. Learn to think beyond what you can see. That's a main reason I ended with Groddeck. When he finally gave up his medical license he began to heal people at a much higher rate.There's a greater force at play. I healed with Dr. Sarno's work because he gave me hope. I told him that. He said in his usual humble way, "oh well Steve, that's good." I had been told my entire life that there was nothing that could be done, I was just unlucky, I had a bad back and bad body, may be cursed, was unhealable in every way. Now I help people heal for a living.

    I would hate to see this site become like other sites, where people sit around bashing the idea of healing; it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hope is what heals us, along with a deep belief. We only get to eat a small piece of the consciousness pie. Chew slowly.

    In the end, it's loneliness that drives symptoms. I see it every single day, talking to many people. When we feel we are going life alone, we get locked to our bodies as a safe-haven. The body then expresses itself in some way, in its deep need. Cancer, means, the cell is "expressing" a deeper need. Keep in mind, you can also abuse a body into anger-expression.

    If Groddeck is right, there's more to "It." But for now, don't ever think something is not healable, or you make it not healable. People heal from RA. It returns on occasion because they needed it to return, it's a coping mechanism.

    Balance, harmony, uniting the divided mind, music, love, friends, nutrition, joy, and peace. These are the things that must be destroyed in order to be happy...lol. Hey did you really expect me to finish without a joke? I do that because we need to lighten our hearts. With pain and illness the heart has become heavy with fear and worry, and anger. Let go of those attachments and soar.

    Be well,

    Lucylu, Lily Rose, tarala and 3 others like this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    You give us all some more wonderful advice and insight in this posting, Steve.
    I'm going to save it.

    I abused my body into anger-expression about a year ago, when still healing back pain.
    I got angry about something, don't even remember what it was. But I got into a red rage.
    I then got to the computer and the room started spinning around. I had angered myself into
    the worst case of vertigo I'd ever had.

    I sat down, calmed down with some deep breathing, and said to hell with whatever had
    angered me. The dizziness went right away and hasn't returned.

    I've learned to laugh more and anger less.
    beachgirl likes this.
  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Steve, thank you for this response for you have enabled me a return to the wisdom I pushed aside these last three years in the mistaken notion that tms was something in particular. My pain-addled self was confused and narrowed my beliefs down until I rejected a faith I know in my bones, knowledge that the east has long described. I have to laugh at myself for getting embroiled in this debacle. Sarno didn't invent the wheel. There are alternative health systems which deeply, compassionately and beautifully embrace it all. God Bless you Steve. I am free now, and I am shining.
    Lily Rose and North Star like this.
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi again, emjbulls. Looks like you may be having a problem deciding whether to believe your symptoms are structural or from TMS, psychological from repressed emotions. Being pulled one way or the other can cause stress and pain. I'm not a doctor, so I don't advise medically, but from my own experience with severe back pain, and my doctor couldn't find anything wrong with it, I read the Sarno and Ozanich books and did a lot of journaling.
    I believed that about 90 percent of my pain was caused by TMS, but still had the back pain. It took a lot of will power for me to finally tell myself my pain was 100 percent from repressed emotions. Then I began to heal and finally did. Doctors can tells us we have this and that, which can make us believe we have it. I think Steve is giving you very good advice. The more you tell yourself your symptoms are TMS, the faster you will be pain free.
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's a useful function of this forum for people to process their doubts and clarify their thinking about TMS. I see debate and discussion of different viewpoints as healthy and not "bashing the idea of healing". If questioning TMS and expressing doubts were all that was happening on this forum, then I agree that would be a problem. But there is so much positive expression of support, empathy, and compassion here along with the sharing of big and small success stories to more than counterbalance the occasional sincere expression of doubt or questioning of a TMS diagnosis.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  15. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow. There's a lot there to process with what you wrote, Steve. And of course, the great discussion around it. Emjbulls....I wish you peace as you sort through this part of your journey.
  16. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Hi emjbulls, I have to stick my two cents in here. I work as a psychologist, and routinely recommend to people both the journaling components of the Structured Educational Program, and Alan Gordon's Recovery Program (both on this site). I just tell people without pain to ignore the TMS specifics, but do the emotional work. I found them so useful personally, and now I am seeing the same in most of my clients. Ill or not, there are very few people running around today without emotional baggage. And there is certainly scientific evidence that stress makes health problems in general much worse. So it seems to me there is little harm, and possibly much to gain, in doing at least the emotional work of the TMS programs. You may even discover in time that you do have some problems that are actually TMS, at which point you can undertake what for me was hardest, accepting that something physical really did have its roots in my emotions.
    yb44 likes this.
  17. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Tarala. Stress? Emotional anxiety? Emotions causing pain? TMS?
    Hey, your posting is great. Even without pain, we can churn our bodies and minds into volcanoes erupting.

    I worked hard today on the computer for my super-demanding boss, a book publisher, and my head knows
    its put in a long day. But I kept at it and still feel no pain. Just a little tired. But I know the work was worth it.
    We're working on a two-volume set of books (print and e-book formats) on the best movies ever made,
    from the silents to the present. Several thousand 3 and 4 star movies plus the masterpieces.
    The publisher is the main author and I'm helping him with a lot of the details and proof-reading,
    and writing about the 3-star movies so he can focus on the 4 star and masterpieces.

    It's a lot of work and concentration but I feel it's a worth while project.
    We're telling people, a lot of them even 40 years old or younger, about the great movies
    they never even know existed. Older people will remember these great movies.

    So your advice is excellent, for those even without pain to work on SEP and Dr. Gordon's recovery program.

    Everyone should try to do something they love. That is important to them. Whether it's writing a book that may not even ever get published, planing a garden of herbs or wildflowers, painting a room or a landscape, practicing the guitar, visiting some one who is sick or elderly, reading a book new or classic, playing with their children or their dog or cat. Watch a good movie (Turner Classic Movies has the best of the oldies and without commercials). Or watch a local Public Broadcasting station documentary or movie.

    Don't watch the news!

    And don't forget to LAUGH. We can multi-task (I don't recommend it) but there ARE two wonderful things you can do at the same time: practice deep breathing and LAUGH. They are profound ways to relax and be in the present.
  18. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Wow, Walt, no womder you know so many good movies. I watched House of Elliot after you mentioned it. I loved it, but it just stopped midway. I like your advice: don't watch the news, remember to laugh!
    MontanaMom likes this.
  19. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    The House of Elliot is good. If you rented the DVD from Netflix or Blockbuster, it might need cleaning.
    Even a tiny speck of dirt or fingerprint will cause a disc to stop.
    Use a soft dry cloth to wide it from the hole to the outer edge.

    Or ask them to send a replacement.

    Have you watched an oldie from Masterpiece Theater... one of my favorites...
    LOVE FOR LYDIA ? 1920s small town England, a beautiful rich girl who toys with
    the affections of every young man in town.
  20. tarala

    tarala Well known member

    Don't know if we can get it in Oz, but I'll have a look. Thanks Walt

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