Mind-body interaction has long been the topic of arguments in philosophy and science. Psychosomatic approach to painful symptoms is well known among physicians and psychotherapists. Dr. Scott Brady has, for the first time, designed a six-week cure for chronic pain ascribed usually to physical causes but rooted in reality in a patient’s history of repressed negative emotions. He gives an account of it in his book Pain Free for Life: The 6-Week Cure for Chronic Pain–Without Surgery or Drugs (Center Street, 2006), co-authored with William Proctor.
Dr. Brady coins the term Autonomic Overload Syndrome (AOS) to describe the symptoms of physical pain, insomnia, and skin conditions like psoriasis arising from repressed emotions like anger, guilt, shame, frustration, and fear. Physical manifestations of AOS are varied and have been frequently ascribed to herniated disks, fibromyalgia, and other bodily conditions. Dr. Brady relates them to emotional overload of the mind’s unconscious part and advises on how to keep pain away by following his mind-body-spirit healing program. The six-week program includes harnessing a disturbed unconscious by practices of relaxation and fathoming repression of the past, and providing an outlet for this mental monster to flee via techniques like depth journaling and biofeedback.
By describing pain-prone personality types and asking assessment questions, Dr. Brady helps his readers judge their own situation and vulnerability to AOS. His book is encouraging in that it boosts the pain-prone soul’s confidence by asserting the fact that conscious part of our mind is stronger than the unconscious. While this defies the Freudian psychoanalytic approach to illness, a new hope of healing without surgery and chemotherapy is sparkled through Dr. Brady’s research: pain is controllable by will and insight.
The book ends with Dr. Brady’s answers to questions arising in the minds of his readers. He recounts how he recovered from chronic pain by tending to the urges of his mind. Certainly, his work is a landmark in motivating pain-sufferers to step on the path of healing with greater confidence, courage, and independence.