I actually learned about the book here on HN: I'm usually a very skeptical person, but enough self-proclaimed skeptics (who were embarrassed to admit they even read it) claimed success with it that I decided to check it out.
I highly recommend reading it (with an open mind) if you're suffering from a chronic ailment that lacks an obvious physical cause. I used it for chronic pain, but the author claims success with just about any other type of "catch-all" diagnosis that doctors make when they're stumped, like IBD.
BTW: the doctor is an American psychiatrist with a long career, so it's not your usual alternative medical book. But I consider it "alternative medicine" in that it's based on similar principles as some other alternative medicines and the theory does not seem to have any sort of acceptance in the western medical community. (The author cites his evidence, and provides his explanation for why the medical community rejects that sort of evidence.)
I have been suffering from back pain for nearly last 10 years so much so that I was nearly feeling disabled lately with my back pain. Sleeping, eating, waking up all I thought about was the pain and how everything revolved around it. Anyway, long story short I stumbled upon your comment and decided to give it a try. I was nodding all along the book and lo and behold I felt compeletely and 100% cured even before I could finish it. It's like somebody has given me my life back. Today was the first time I taught my daughter to walk by holding both her hands without worrying about bending my back.
I think Dr.Sarno is a real genius and a hero for me (too bad there is some much stubborness and skeptism about his methods). Thank you so much for sharing his work!
One caveat: Sarno was an MD who specialized in Rehabilitation Medicine and not a psychiatrist or psychologist. If you read his books you do not have to buy his Freudian explanation of phantom pain as repressed rage, the techniques will still work.
He also deserves credit for reintroducing the concept of psychosomatic illnesses or pains in modern medicine (his mind-body connection) which is dismissed as unscientific because it can't be tested using the so-called "gold standard" of medical proof; the randomized, double-blind, control-group treatment.
I have a condition that is known to cause chronic pain. For years, over 25, anyone that asked me if I had pain I would always say no. I wasn't lying. I truly thought that I had no pain. I felt very lucky.
One day I had to start taking pain relievers for a case of intense back pain. It was so bad I had to stay in bed. After I stopped taking the back pain pills I started to notice a pain that would not go away. I found out it was due to my chronic condition. It was then that I realized that I had always had the pain. For some reason, I had blocked it in my mind and never really accepted it as pain. Now I have the pain, it's similar to unseeing something you never wanted to see. Once you know about it you can't block it. I take regular pain medicine to help me now.
For so many years the thought of not having chronic pain made it so in my mind. It's truly amazing what the mind can do if you belive.