I started with Nicole’s four-part video introduction ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ), and then I binged her podcast . My favorite podcast episodes are the ones where she interviews guests, and those were the motivation I needed to believe this work would cure me. Her website also has a lot of resources, most of which I didn’t use, but a lot of people have found her work helpful, so I recommend looking through it and giving some of it a try if it seems like the right fit for you.
As important as Nicole’s work was for my recovery, I found her explanations of how to do the work to be lacking. But Dani’s resources on her My TMS Journey site are amazing. She clearly lays out everything you need to have a solid JournalSpeak practice and she explains what makes JournalSpeak different from normal journaling. Dani has also put together some excellent resources and expert lists for healing from chronic conditions.
Alan’s brain retraining guidance was critical to my recovery. I had the emotional stuff down and was journaling religiously, but I needed the brain retraining component to help address my fear of the symptoms.
He has this program on the TMS Wiki page that I used to learn about brain retraining, and then I also found this one of his that looks useful. I also really loved his podcast, which is a short series that walks you through how to retrain your brain. He also has a book, The Way Out .
FROM THE DOCTORS
Dr. John Sarno is the original mind-body doctor, though is work focused primarily on back pain and chronic pain. His work inspired the work of many others listed on this page. His books are helpful for understanding that this stuff works , and supposedly there are people who recovered just from reading about his theories (I was not one of those people, and I’m skeptical that they really exist). I found the books helpful, but they don’t tell you how to do the work.
Dr. Howard Schubiner has created
Freedom from Chronic Pain
Unlearn Your Pain
, which are both helpful. He has a lot of resources on his sites, and you can also pay for some of his programs, although I didn’t, so I can’t vouch for them.
Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap out of Chronic Pain , a book by Dr. David Hanscom that I found helpful.
Living Like You Mean It by Ronald J. Fredrick: this book was a turning point for me in understand how and why to feel my emotions. (not sure why it’s listed in the Christian section. I don’t remember anything religious in it and the author is a clinical psychologist.)
Between Us by Batja Mesquita: Not necessarily helpful for recovery, but an interesting way to think about feelings, the people around us, and our societal influences.
Lost Connections by Johann Hari: a powerful book about depression and our interaction with others.
Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
SENSORY PROCESSING SENSITIVITY
As someone who did not suffer major trauma, learning about this trait was critical for me to understand how I still ended up with so many physical symptoms akin to trauma. It was equally important for me to learn about the subset of
people with this trait who are high-sensation seekers, which I am, and which makes me more prone to illness and over-stimulation.
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person by Tracy Cooper
The “highly sensitive person” concept is worth googling to read more about other people’s experiences with this trait, as it can show up a little differently for different people.
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
Unconditional Self-Acceptance by Cheri Huber
There Is Nothing Wrong With You: Going Beyond Self-Hate by Cheri Huber
Cheri Huber’s work was really helpful for me in understanding the inner child work as well.
MEDITATIONS, VISUALIZATIONS, QIGONG
Insight Timer is an amazing meditation app that has so many meditative resources. I relied on it heavily while I was sick and learning how to meditate. The biggest issue I ran into is that there are so many meditations and music and informational sessions that it can be a little overwhelming to find the right one. But when I found the helpful meditations and teachers, I could just keep going back to them as often as I wanted. The free version was really great while I used it, but I also paid for a subscription for a year–mostly because I wanted to support the app. I don’t do guided meditations very often anymore, and when I do, I use a few meditations I’ve purchased, such as some of the recommendations below.
Reginald Ray, Buddhist Teacher
After I had my intense experience warding of a headache with hours of deep breathing, I wanted to learn more and didn’t know where to turn or even what to look up. Ray’s book on Tantra Buddhism was available on my library app. The content of the book was interesting to lay in bed and listen to, but I really loved the full-length somatic meditations that are included in the book. I’d never done somatic meditation before, and I consistently felt better after every meditation. This is what got me started on my somatic journey, long before I learned about the emotional work. His website also provides some excellent, free somatic meditations that I listened to almost daily for quite a while. Then I discovered his audio book, Somatic Descent , also through my library app, and that was life changing. The meditations in that book proved especially relevant when I started learning to “talk” to my symptoms to better tap into whatever repressed thoughts and emotions were triggering the symptoms.
Last I checked, he has a collection of meditations on Insight Timer. But I have now purchased the full book of Somatic Descent, as well as an audio version of just the meditations from the Tantra Buddhism book, called
Meditating with the Body
. They’re amazing, and I still use the meditations regularly. He has a lot of other resources, and I’ve liked many of them, but for me, the ones linked here were game changers. (All of my links here are to SoundsTrue, which is more
expensive than other platforms, but I like their app and how they format the audiobooks so that I can easily pull out the meditations.)
Other meditative resources
Daring to Rest by Karen Brody: Her yoga nidra programs were helpful and I use them a ton, but they’re designed for women.
Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione: This was a really interesting take on how to talk to and release issues that are manifesting in the body as chronic pain and illness. I didn’t follow the guidance exactly, but rather I used my JournalSpeak sessions to have these “conversations with my demons.”
by Jeffery Chand: He has a ton of Qigong sessions geared mostly toward people who are recovering from illness, and he does a great job explaining the movement and what the movements are helping with. There is a subscription fee,
but I thought it was worth it.
Qigong videos by Mimi Kuo Deemer: These days, I’m a sucker for videos I get to buy and own rather than always paying a subscription, and she has great qigong sessions for sale for both classic qigong practices as well as her own creations that are designed for healing. She also has other resources on her website that are helpful, but I liked the Qigong videos best.
is another app that I use to this day. It features calming music for sleep, sound healing and meditation. I absolutely love it for the deep relaxations I do lying down. I would often have one device playing music from Meditative
Mind, while another device played a meditation or a soothing audiobook. As with Insight Timer, some sounds help me enter a deep relaxation and others are terrible for me, so there’s a little bit of time finding the right sounds,
but I found it to be worth the effort. This is also one that I do pay a subscription fee for, but I think the free version of the app is fine and a lot of
the music is available for free on YouTube
This list includes material that I found incredibly helpful that is either scientifically controversial or based on ancient Eastern beliefs without scientific backing.
The Biology of Belief
by Bruce Lipton: I actually don’t know if this is controversial, but I don’t think it’s mainstream either.
: Some of her work is considered sound science, while other takes are more controversial. I came across her because I was trying to understand why it felt like repressed thoughts, emotions, and memories were held in my body rather
than just my mind. Pert is someone who suggests that our subconscious mind is actually our body, which is a hypothesis that resonated with my experience.
Eastern Body Western Mind
by Anodea Judith
Chakra Meditations by Anodea Judith: I don’t know if it’s because chakra work helped me feel and experience my body more, or if there’s actually something to chakras, but I found learning about them and practicing chakra meditations to be an incredibly powerful tool for calming my nervous system and addressing my repressed issues.
by Lawrence Edwards: This is closely connected to my experience with chakras, and Edwards has a very calming voice that was soothing to listen to.
Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani: a story of a near-death experience and a suggestion about how powerful and harmful fear is in the body.
UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE
These are a collection of other resource lists that do a good job of supporting and explaining the science of neuroplasticity and mind-body work.
I can’t vouch for any of these programs, but others seem to have had success with them. Buglio and Tolin have also put together their own free resources that many people have found helpful during their recovery processes, so I recommend
checking those out.
: a lot of people swear by the app. I haven’t used it because I didn’t like the interface, and by the time I discovered it, I was healed enough that I didn’t need it. Based on the feedback of others, if I’d still been sick when I
came across the app, I would have paid for it and dealt with my dislike of the interface.