Example Notes for a Talk

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Here are the notes HilaryN wrote for giving a talk to the London RSI Support Group.

It's divided into 4 parts:

  • Introduction to myself
  • Introduction to Dr Sarno and concepts of TMS
  • My story
  • Lessons learnt / Tips


TMS Talk, 24th February 2009

Mobile phone to silent

My name is Hilary

  • had RSI for 13 years
  • completely dependent on voice recognition for 10 years.

I read an article in the RSI magazine about Harriet Young's recovery from RSI using Dr Sarno's book, “The Mindbody Prescription”.

Dr Sarno is professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center.

Specialises in treating people with chronic back pain who have been unsuccessful in curing their pain using other methods of treatment (e.g. surgery, physiotherapy)

He tells his patients that the pain is caused by emotions in the subconscious. The mind initiates the pain as a distraction from emotional issues which it finds extremely frightening to deal with.

He identified certain personality types who are more likely to suffer from this condition: perfectionists / conscientious or people-pleasers – these people build up rage in their subconscious -

NOT at a conscious level, but if there is any threat of these emotions becoming conscious then the subconscious will create the pain as a distraction in order to prevent the emotions becoming conscious.

Coined the term “TMS”, aka “Tension Myoneural Syndrome”, aka “The Mindbody Syndrome”.

The pain is REAL – the brain can cause oxygen-deprivation to the muscles --> cause pain.

I bought the book and read it 2 or 3 times. My visual migraines went away, but my RSI didn't, so I gave up – because in the book he says that understanding the process is enough to get better, so I expected to get better immediately.

1 year later – plumber – back pain – Sarno. Page 57!!

He was really enthusiastic – I decided to try again.

Headaches (vitamins)

Success in this gave me confidence to tackle “The Big One” (RSI).

I decided to use start typing little bits and slowly increase time typing each day and at same time thought about Sarno's book and the concepts.

No improvement.

Thought about psychotherapy (resistant: stigma + “I'm well-balanced”)

Contacted Harriet – The Journey, Brandon Bays – alternative way of finding hidden emotional issues and resolving them.

Tried Journey - Still no progress for a couple of weeks.

Slowly, slowly progressed...

One day I made discovery: the pain / discomfort came at the time of typing – not later.

Gave me more control and confidence.

I'd stop typing when I felt pain – but pain went away by next day (by thinking about TMS and how it was caused).

Slowly progressed until I was able to stop using voice recognition altogether in October 2005.

6 months overall (on 2nd attempt).


  1. See a doctor to make sure there is no structural cause for the pain. (There are now doctors in UK who can diagnose TMS.)
  2. Don't try and go back to typing /activity straight away. Takes a while to recondition the mind.
  3. May not be immediate cure – can take time. You may get setbacks.
  4. Get help! (Me: plumber & Harriet.)
  • Contact me if you have questions or want to chat
  • TMS forum and wiki
  • Read Success Stories on TMS wiki.
  1. Consider psychotherapy
  2. TMS is not just for people who have suffered emotional trauma
  3. Pain is not just “all in the mind” - THE PAIN IS REAL and there are physiological changes causing that pain. -- However it does entail a radically different approach and you have to be prepared to throw out preconceptions.
  4. Not cured until return to activity which you perceived as causing the pain – e.g. Typing / mousing
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