Letter from Dr. Schubiner
I have been a physician since 1978 and am board certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. I spent most of my career at Wayne State University Medical School in Detroit and achieved the rank of full Professor there in 2002. I have conducted research studies, taught medical students and residents, authored articles in medical journals and practiced medicine for all these years. I even participated in the creation of a “holistic medical center” and I have studied acupuncture in China. I have also been listed on the Best Doctors in America list on several occasions.
Over this time, I have seen many advances in medicine. We have been able to reduce deaths due to many cancers and have reduced deaths from heart attacks and strokes. However, there have been increases in the number of people with chronic pain and syndromes that are unexplained by typical medical diagnostic testing. Approximately 25% of people suffer with chronic back and/or neck pain, about 15% of people suffer from chronic headaches, millions of people are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) syndrome, insomnia, and anxiety. In the last decade, we have seen new disorders develop such as interstitial cystitis and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). For this large group of disorders, medical advances have not been helpful and may have been part of the problem.
About three years ago, I started the Mind Body Medicine program at Providence Hospital, in Southfield, Michigan. This program was based on the pioneering work of Dr. John Sarno in New York City. He noticed that the results of X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans were often unrelated to the amount of pain experienced by the patient. When he began to treat people (who did not need surgery) from a psychological point of view, most people improved, even when they may have had pain for many years.
When I looked back on my own life, I realized that I had and continue to have (on occasion) physical symptoms in response to stress and emotions. My neck began to hurt in 1983 and has caused me significant disability over the years. I’ve had headaches and diarrhea from time to time as well. My back has “gone out” on occasion. Now that I am tuned in this incredible connection between the mind and the body, I am almost always able to get rid of the aches and pains that arise by recognizing them for what they are: physical symptoms as a manifestation of stress, worry, anxiety, fears, anger, and the many other emotions that come with being human.
What I have found most amazing in doing this work is that there are two significant things that usually occur in people who enter the Mind Body Medicine program. First, their physical symptoms improve. This is the case in about 70-80% of people within the first month of taking the program. Many others improve later. Of course, not all patients have gotten rid of all of their symptoms. The second thing that typically occurs is that most people learn to understand themselves much better. They learn what issues in their life are most pressing and concerning to them and why. They begin to see that issues from their childhood often dictate how they respond to issues occurring in the current moment. And most importantly, they learn techniques for dealing with the issues in their life and for the issues that have bothered them in the past. In short, they begin to achieve mastery and a sense of control over their emotions, reactions to stress and most importantly their own bodies. I have found that even those people whose physical symptoms do not improve during the course, are still grateful for the program because they have learned so much about themselves and have gained insight into what makes them who they are. Because of these gratifying results, I have decided to create this web site so more people can have access to the educational materials that my patients have found so beneficial.
With that introduction, I invite you to review all of the materials on this web site. As mentioned below, this is an educational web site, not one intended for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You may benefit from the information contained, but you need to be assured by your own doctor that this program is acceptable for you to use.
I am not able to answer personal questions or give advice to people who have not enrolled as patients at my medical office in Michigan. If you want to become a patient, please contact me at my office. I offer this educational program to you in the hope that more people will become aware of the relationship between the mind and the body and that more people will be able to help themselves to improve their health and well being.
To your health,
Howard Schubiner, MD