It was over 8 years ago, while searching through the book store, that I found Sarno’s, Healing Back Pain. The diagnosis indicating there are psychological
dynamics playing a major role in the creation of my physical pain changed my beliefs about healing physical pain so dramatically that my use of its principles
has attracted abundant physical health to me in a way that I have never imagined...
Getting rid of my chronic pain body had been a constant struggle for the past 20 years. I wanted to end my lower back pain, chronic stiffness and soreness,
the sporadic spasms, sciatica and piriformis that were part of my daily life. Chiropractic adjustments, nerve stimulation, massages, special exercises, ibuprofen,
ice and rest were not working. A few years before discovering Sarno’s book and the psychological diagnosis, I had been working with and studying alternative
therapies. These included hypnosis, imagery, energy medicine and yoga. I was having new insights and success with some of these practices but not a
permanent end to my physical pain symptoms. What I learned from Sarno’s book was working for me. My chronic stiffness and lower back pain was leaving
my body, so I was greatly enthused with my progress. I was convinced that all of my physical pain was being caused by the way that I was creating inner stress,
tension and anxiety through my Type A personality behaviors and the habitual thought patterns I would consistently repeat on a daily basis. But, even though
the psychological diagnosis was working for my soreness and back pain, I could not get rid of my piriformis and sciatica conditions. I became
aware that other people were experiencing great success and the continued frustration that I was. We all seemed to know what was happening but couldn’t
quite figure out how to make this diagnosis work to stop all of our pain. I began to search for another level, a deeper understanding of the way our thoughts
and emotions were causing and maintaining physical pain. I wanted a practice that would be more effective and consistent for a broader range of people.
As a result of my continued search for the practice that would consistently be successful at stopping pain caused by inner stress, tension and anxiety, I became
convinced that the achievement of a pain free body was something that could be learned. We didn’t have to find the right doctor that understood our mystery
pain and then prescribed the perfect treatment. We didn’t have to know the specific exercise that would open up a dysfunctional body system and bring it into
alignment. We didn’t even need to understand the biochemical process taking place in our bodies that was causing the pain symptoms. We simply had to learn
a few simple principles and then consistently put them into practice. In the years preceding my learning of Sarno’s psychological diagnosis, I experienced some
“aha” moments of eliminating my pain: power yoga and guided imagery. Six months of power yoga ended 20 years of chronic soreness, stiffness and back
pain. Two weeks of guided imagery practice eliminated my crazy sharp knee pain that was only experienced during training runs. Two seemingly different
practices that both worked to eliminate pain...
The next discovery was the psychological diagnosis. From the moment that I began learning about the concept of a physical pain disorder with a strategy at
work that keeps us focused on our body and away from the real cause, our thought patterns and emotions, I knew that this was the missing link for me. And I
was right, it was, almost!...
I now had the foundation, the correct diagnosis which identifies the real cause. Over the next couple of years I evolved my personal practice on how to
eliminate chronic physical pain that was being caused by inner stress, tension and anxiety. I practiced, studied and researched the concepts of chronic thought
patterns, restricted or repressed emotions and the dynamic patterns of pain that was experienced as a result. I consulted with Sarno patients and other
people suffering with chronic pain and began to understand why and how some people eliminated their pain and others did not, even though
they were all practicing the same basic principles...
The Master Practice has evolved from my experiences over the past 27 years. The first 20 years were filled with a lot of pain and frustration, but also the
insights that I needed to learn. The past 7 years have been pain free with abundant physical health and energy. I have not had a medical examination or
treatment of any kind in the last 8 years. And at the age of 48 I am still running on average 70-80 miles per week at a higher intensity than at any time in my
The Master Practice consists of 3 separate practices. Each practice in and of itself has the potential to reverse this pain disorder. Each practice is
treating or affecting the cause. Not one iota of this practice is treating the symptom. Treating symptoms keeps you in pain and the pain strategy alive within
you. Treating or affecting the cause reverses the pain disorder and eliminates it from your life. Combine these 3 practices into your daily life and you have the
master key for permanently ending your life of chronic pain...
So it is with tremendous enthusiasm and conviction that I can share with you, from my own personal experience, The Master Practice: This practice Works!
It is important to understand that there are physical pain disorders being caused by psychological dynamics. Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) is a name given
by Dr. John Sarno to a condition he describes as characterized by psychosomatic musculoskeletal and nerve symptoms, most notably back pain, piriformis
syndrome and sciatica. TMS is a condition in which emotional stress causes physical pain and other symptoms. The medical community will refer to this
condition as a psychosomatic disorder. A psychosomatic or psycho-physiological disorder is one in which physical symptoms are the direct result of
psychological or emotional factors. It means that emotional factors have initiated and or are maintaining physical pain. It must be emphasized that even though
emotional stress factors have initiated pain symptoms, these pain symptoms are very real physical phenomena that hurt, burn, tingle and spasm. This is what is
happening. Your body is going through a physiological change that has been induced by psychological factors. It is important to note that within these pain
disorders there is a distraction strategy at work. The underlying cause of the pain is the mind's defense mechanism against mental stress and emotions such as
worry, anger and anxiety. Our mind is distracted by the physical pain. As a result of this strategy we focus on our pain symptoms and not on the psychological
Although it is generally accepted that emotional stress can increase existing back pain, cause an ulcer or intensify a headache, the diagnosis being presented here
is that the pain sensations being experienced in this disorder are being caused by the psychological state or simply put a person’s thoughts, behaviors and
emotions, which include repressed emotions...
Below is a list of criteria for diagnosing tension induced pain disorders.
• Lack of a known physical cause: No one knows what is causing your pain and your past treatment methods have not worked
• Tender points: the upper trapezius muscles, the lumbar paraspinal muscles and the lateral upper buttocks. Studies indicate that these are found in over 90%
of TMS patients.
• History of other psychosomatic disorders: A prior history of other psychosomatic disorders can be an indication of TMS: heartburn, pre-ulcer
symptoms, hiatus hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, spastic colon, tension headache, migraine, eczema, and frequent urination.
• Pain moves or switches locations: This can be an important indicator of TMS pain. Be especially mindful of pain moving when you begin to apply the
psychological diagnosis to your pain symptoms. This is a distraction strategy at work trying to keep you focused on the body and away from the real cause—
your thoughts and emotions...
The first and most important step in reversing these pain disorders is to understand and accept that pain is a signal to think psychological.
This means when you feel physical pain in your body you immediately take the focus away from your pain and into your emotional and mental being. You use
the pain as a signal to become aware of your personality trait being exhibited, your thoughts and your feelings. “What am I thinking right now? What is causing
me to feel tense right now? Am I frustrated? Why? Do I feel depressed? Why?” Sincerely question what is going on within you. Be genuinely interested in who
and how you are being...
Begin to Think Psychological "What am I thinking right now?" or "What is causing me to feel (frustrated, angry, tense, sad) right now?" Next, take some
time to sense or get a feeling for what emotion is trying to express itself or identify what dominant personality trait you are exhibiting. Are you striving for
perfection and being very self-conscious about what others may think? Are you in chronic worry about the future? Have your thoughts been consistently re-
visiting a past event that is filled with anger, resentment or guilt?...
Accepting the psychological diagnosis 100%, practicing think psychological on a consistent basis and stopping all physical treatments while
resuming normal activities has helped thousands upon thousands of people eliminate their chronic pain caused by inner emotional stress. If you will
genuinely engage in this practice of think psychological you must realize improvement....
Reversing or ending this pain disorder begins with accepting the psychological diagnosis. Then you must, on a consistent basis practice think psychological
instead of focusing on your body, treatments, who can fix you and what is wrong with my body types of thinking. You now know what is going on and you are
well on your way to ending this pain disorder.
You are at a very important stage. Many TMS programs focus their psychological treatment on having the individual investigate their repressed emotional
issues that may be causing the pain. Journaling, rereading a book, and participating in group teaching sessions is recommended. It is believed by most TMS
doctors that if you believe the diagnosis, begin to think psychological and stop all other treatments aimed at fixing the pain, your subconscious mind will stop
the pain disorder. If this doesn’t happen you will usually be instructed to consult a psychologist that can help you uncover and release your deep seated
repressed emotions. I am enthused to tell you that this is just not the case!...
The problem that I have discovered in so many of Sarno’s patients who are still experiencing pain is that they get stuck trying to uncover deep seated
repressed emotions without addressing how these emotions are actually being repressed. When I first learned about TMS I accepted the diagnosis 100% and
consistently practiced think psychological. Most of my back pain stiffness and soreness was gone in a matter of weeks. What remained was my very irritating
piriformis and sciatica. I knew these conditions were also a result of this pain disorder but they remained with me....
The bottom line and what I want you to know and understand is that a person must become aware of how they are repressing emotional energy. This pain
disorder is caused by chronic thought patterns that are repressing emotions. In order to permanently eliminate this pain disorder from our life we must open
up this stuck emotional energy and allow it to move freely within our body system. There are two big, huge keys in this practice to accomplish this...
Dr. Pert’s research shows us that this inner stress or energy is taking the form of a blockage, which is weakening our system because of an insufficient flow
of peptide signals. Pert says “blood flow is closely regulated by emotional peptides, which signal receptors on blood vessels walls to constrict or dilate, and so
influence the amount and velocity of blood flowing through them from moment to moment.” This has been tested in the immune system where the cells
squirt out peptides that can increase or decrease plaque buildup in blood vessels. A buildup of plaque would then restrict blood flow through the vessels. Dr.
Pert’s research is the scientific validation for oxygen deprivation in these pain disorders. In Dr. Sarno’s theory, he concluded that the pain was a result of
oxygen deprivation to selected tissue.
The repressed emotion is causing tension in our nervous system. This inner tension is the catalyst for oxygen deprivation. Less blood means that there will be
less oxygen available to these tissues and the result is symptoms of pain; tingling, burning, soreness, numbness, spasms, tightness and weakness...
This is where we must start the practice of Think Clean. We must become aware of our thoughts, personality traits, emotions and how we react in
our daily life to stressful and emotional stimuli...
Read through the following examples of different ways that people avoid experiencing their emotions. Remember it is our repetitive chronic thought patterns
while we are engaged in these behavior patterns that we want to begin paying attention to. It is our chronic thoughts that repress emotions and ignite the inner
stress that we are going to learn how to recognize and switch out of...
Are we in a chronic worry pattern? Are we trying to please someone, striving to do this in a perfect fashion and being overly self-conscious of what others
are thinking about us? Are we angry at someone, a situation or our self and holding these angry emotions inside? If we check our self and we feel tense, or
tight, or frustrated, or depressed or a lot less enthusiastic than we want, this immediately is guiding us to where our chronic thought patterns are focused. So
we have this awesome navigation system that is absolutely perfect and truthful in letting us know exactly where our dominant thought patterns and behaviors
have been focused...
Your Body is an Extension of Your Thoughts I want you to understand that your emotions, the way that you feel, come in direct response to your
thoughts, and your body is an extension of your thought. What I really want you to get is that under all conditions you have the power to find thoughts that will
make you feel better just as you can choose to find thoughts that make you feel worse. When you deliberately choose better feeling thoughts on a more
consistent basis your body will respond with improvement.
One of the big keys to reversing this pain disorder and then maintaining a good feeling body is to become aware of the indicators (how do I f e e l and what
am I thinking) more often and in the earlier stages of stressful or tension filled situations...
I hope I am making my point here because I want you to understand that you must redirect your thoughts away from this pain disorder, away your
body, away from, how am I going to fix this and away from the chronic worry, people pleasing, controlling, perfection, striving and being so
overly self conscious thinking patterns. You must begin telling a different story. Now feel the emotional difference. I don’t want to be in pain. Why can’t I
just feel good? I hate my life. If only I wasn’t in pain. How can I fix this? This is so hard. I ‘m stuck. This sucks. What am I going to do? I don’t know what to
I understand that my thoughts are creating inner tension. I get that. Pain is a Signal for me to pay attention. I get that. When I feel pain I can begin to change
my focus. I’m starting to get this. I have a choice where I direct my thoughts. I can do this. I do know what is going on here. I have been stuck in a certain
way of thinking. When I pay attention I start to catch myself and I can re-direct my thoughts. That’s the first step. It may be slow going at first but I can do
This is a New Internal Alignment This is not Pollyannaish, positive thinking. You are creating a new internal alignment of thought based on how you
feel emotionally. You are recognizing how you feel and you are making the connection of where your thoughts are focused based on how you feel. Then you
are cleaning out the old chronic patterns of thought and replacing them with new, more open and allowing thoughts...
In December of 1999 I had just finished a miserable experience in the White Rock Marathon. My back hips and thighs began tightening up
around mile 14 and the remaining 12 miles were slow and painful. At this point in my life I had been experiencing chronic back pain, body
stiffness and sciatica for many years and I had never heard of physical pain disorders caused by psychological dynamics. A few days after
running the Rock, I decided to try Yoga as a treatment to fix my chronic pain body. I began with a practice of Power Yoga where the primary
focus was first on a special breathing technique and on holding locks (muscle contractions) and secondary on the movements
(postures). After five months of consistent practice I am 90% pain free. I did not know it at the time but the key to this practice and to my
recovery was a combination of the special breathing and the holding of something called the root lock...
On the physical level this is simply the contraction of muscles. You will soon discover that it is much more. It is a powerful, mindful,
energetic upliftment! The importance of the root lock should not be underestimated. As you perfect this practice it leads to a realignment of
the physical, mental and emotional bodies and has big, huge benefits: 1. Maintaining hormonal balance. 2. Stimulating and regulating the
nerves that innervate the lower pelvic region. 3. Re-balances nervous activity in the body....
The root lock is an important tool in the treatment of physical diseases and disorders. It has an immediate effect of creating a deep sense
of mental relaxation, which relieves most mental and psychosomatic disorders, which are the direct or
indirect result of inner stress, tension and anxiety!
This is a Practice that Communicates with our Nervous System. The root lock practice unlocks stuck emotional energy...
I hope that you are beginning to see the correlation of everything that we have been discussing about these dynamic pain disorders are
stemming directly from this energy location. This is the foundation of our emotional and mental energy. Our Type A behaviors thrive in the
energy located here. Physically it is at the base of our spine which predominantly affects our neck, back, and legs—the foundation of our
body and the dominant region for our symptoms in these disorders. The nerve which supplies this region is the pudendal nerve. The
interaction of the nerves in the perineum with the brain, autonomic nervous system and the rest of the body are extremely intricate. Despite
this broad, complex network with its myriad of emotional communications, neural pathways and physical connections, it is possible to unlock
the mysteries of these dynamic pain disorders. The technique of root lock is how we can do just that and the key is practice.
Get Ready to Practice
First we need to locate the muscles that we will contract in our root lock practice...
That’s why this practice is so big huge. It is an internal alignment of our mental, emotional and physical energies. We strengthen our
internal organs, increase lung capacity, emphasize mindfulness and concentration, communicate with our autonomic nervous system while
opening up and cleansing our mental and emotional energy. Don’t forget we get the side benefit of reversing our physical pain disorder in
the process. Wow! What a side benefit...
Each of the 3 practices discussed is treating the cause of and reversing this pain disorder. Not one iota of this master practice is treating
the symptoms. Treating symptoms keeps this disorder with you. Healing the cause reverses the disorder and eliminates it from your life...
Want to read more about the Root Lock Practice (click here).
The Master Practice
How To Heal Chronic TMS Pain Permanently
by Monte Hueftle
|Look Inside The Master Practice
Chapter 1 - Selected Excerpts
Learning The Psychological Diagnosis
Chapter 2 - Selected Excerpts
Think Psychologically - Practice 1
Disabling The Pain Strategy
Chapter 3 - Selected Excerpts
Think Clean - Practice 2
Eliminating the Cause Reversing the Disorder
Chapter 4 - Selected Excerpts
The Root Lock Practice - Practice 3
The Master Key