The book The Mind-Body Prescription by Dr. Sarno covers this exact topic, and made a huge impact on my life and the life of a friend of mine. It's a worthwhile read for scientifically-minded skeptics who are feeling frustrated that doctors seem stumped by their chronic pain/illness. I had a worsening pain that jeopardized my ability to work a desk job, and that book resolved it in a matter of weeks.
(1) I'd already spent time and money on traditional treatments with neutral or even negative results. So $11 and a few hours reading wasn't that hard to stomach
(2) I heard it recommended by others who were similarly skeptical, which put it on my radar. Otherwise I may have just given up.
(3) I felt confident I could read the whole book with a truly open mind. I told myself before starting that I'd suspend any disbelief for the duration of reading the book and implementing its practices, and only critically re-engage after that period ended. I.e. I felt I could read it as a practitioner and not a theoretician.
To elaborate on #3, this may sound very uncomfortable, but the book's value is not in accuracy but in efficacy. It's an open question to me if the author's explanation as to why the system works is 100% "true" in a physical sense, but he explains it very well to an audience that is unsure. Regardless, whether it's "true" is ultimately an academic concern compared to the book clicking with a (possibly less rational :)) subconscious part of your mind in a way that resolves your very real chronic pain/illness.
But ultimately you have very little to lose beyond a bit of time to just give it a shot. It very well may not help, too.
I find that open-mindedness can be as simple as questioning and rethinking one's heuristics for detecting bullshit. These heuristics are useful for keeping us sane, but we should recognize them for what they are: epistemic shortcuts that allow us to dismiss something as false without really investigating it. What we gain in efficiency we lose in accuracy, and sometimes we end up missing out on something potentially useful.
- celebrity doctor
- passionate followers
- findings not accepted by mainstream medicine
- touts a worldview I want to be true