Guide to the Dr. Sarno method

Photo of clouds shows how using the holistic Dr. Sarno method effectively dissipates the causes of chronic pain.

The Dr. Sarno method is an alternative approach to managing chronic pain that emphasizes the role of emotional and psychological factors in pain perception.

It was developed by Dr. John Sarno when he was Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and attending physician at the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center.

Here is a step-by-step guide to using the Dr. Sarno method:

  • Understand the underlying philosophy: The Dr. Sarno method is based on the belief that repressed emotions and psychological stress can cause physical symptoms, including pain. This means that in order to effectively manage pain, it is important for you to address the emotional and psychological factors that may be contributing to it.
  • Identify your emotions: The next step is to identify the emotions that may be contributing to your pain. This could include stress, anxiety, anger, or other negative emotions. Take some time to reflect on your emotions and consider how they may be affecting your pain.
  • Acknowledge and accept your emotions: Once you’ve identified your emotions, the next step is to acknowledge and accept them. This means recognizing that it is normal and natural to feel a range of emotions, and that it is okay to express them in a healthy way.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: One effective way to manage emotional stress is through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. These techniques can help reduce tension in the body and promote a sense of calm.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Negative thoughts and beliefs can also contribute to pain perception. The Dr. Sarno method encourages individuals to challenge these thoughts and replace them with positive, empowering beliefs.
  • Stay active: Finally, it is important to stay active and engaged in life despite the pain. This can include engaging in physical activity that is appropriate for your condition, as well as staying connected to friends and loved ones and pursuing hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

The Dr. Sarno method is a unique approach to managing chronic pain that has gained popularity in recent years.

What makes this method so interesting is that it challenges the traditional medical model of pain management, which often focuses solely on physical factors such as injury or structural abnormalities.

Mind-body connection

One of the key insights of the Dr. Sarno method is the idea that emotions and psychological factors can play a significant role in pain perception. This means that addressing emotional and psychological factors can be just as important as treating physical symptoms when it comes to managing chronic pain.

Another interesting aspect of the Dr. Sarno method is the focus on the mind-body connection. This approach recognizes that the mind and body are not separate entities, but rather are interconnected and influence each other in complex ways.

By addressing emotional and psychological factors, people can more effectively manage pain and improve their overall well-being.


In addition to its emphasis on the mind-body connection, the Dr. Sarno method also emphasizes the importance of self-empowerment.

Rather than relying solely on medical professionals to manage their pain, people are encouraged to take an active role in their own healing process

This can involve challenging negative thoughts and beliefs, practicing relaxation techniques, and staying active and engaged in life despite the pain.

Cultural beliefs

Another insight of the Dr. Sarno method is its focus on the role of culture and society in pain perception.

This approach recognizes that cultural beliefs and societal expectations can shape how you perceive pain and how you respond to it

By understanding these factors, you can gain a deeper understanding of your pain and develop more effective strategies for managing it.