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Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain

Keys to Treatment Based on Your Emotional Type

Published by Healing Arts Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

Find the holistic treatment that will work best for you based on your emotional type and specific pain condition

• Provides an easy questionnaire to determine your emotional type and an interactive self-assessment for finding the right pain treatment for your condition

• Explores mind-body treatments for many common pain conditions, including arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, migraines, carpal tunnel, and PTSD

• Reviews the scientific evidence in support of acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, massage, chiropractic, yoga, herbs, and essential oils

Throughout history many healing traditions have focused on analgesia--the alleviation of pain--an area in which modern medicine provides few options beyond narcotics, steroids, and surgery. For those seeking drug- and surgery-free alternatives or complements to conventional pain management, the choices can be overwhelming. How do you know which method will work for you?

In this guide to safe and effective natural therapies for acute and chronic pain, authors Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D., and Sebhia Marie Dibra explain how your emotional boundary style--how you react to emotional, social, environmental, and physical stresses--affects which complementary treatments will work best for you. Providing an easy questionnaire to determine your emotional type and an interactive self-assessment for finding the right pain treatment for your condition, they explore the effectiveness of mind-body treatments for each emotional type and for many common pain disorders, including arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, ulcer, migraine headaches, carpal tunnel, anxiety, PTSD, and other chronic pain conditions. They review the available research and scientific evidence in support of each therapy, suggesting only well-established, safe, and clinically proven alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, massage, chiropractic, yoga, herbs, and essential oils.

Approaching pain holistically, they reveal how pain should be understood as a dynamic condition--an interaction between mind and body as well as between patient and therapy--and how your emotional type is key to long-lasting and successful results.



Healing YOUR Pain

Each individual’s emotional boundary falls somewhere on the spectrum of thick to thin. There are many “alternative” mind-body medical treatments being studied for pain disorders and your emotional boundary type is related to the effectiveness of each of these. Each of the treatments presented in this book is well established, highly effective, extremely safe, and interferes minimally with life compared to other pain management treatments. The effectiveness of each is evaluated on the basis of what has now been proven through scientific research and evidence. The added benefit is that now you can determine which treatments are right for you based on your emotional boundary type.


In the table below, common and significant pain disorders are broken up by the emotional boundary type in which they are most likely to occur--thick, thin, or boundary independent. Six of the major mindbody treatments are listed by their effectiveness for treating these disorders as well as for treating the depression, anxiety, and pain that usually accompany them. Based on the available science and research, these treatments are ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being minimally effective, 3 being moderately effective, and 5 being highly effective), relative to each other and the most powerful treatments allopathic medicine has to offer. Where no number appears it generally means there was not enough data to evaluate it.

All of these therapies are highly potent and effective for pain. In fact, in our view, these treatments equal (and acupuncture, for one, actually exceeds) anything available in Western medical treatment for pain. Armed with this guide and knowledge of your boundary type you can begin to select the right treatments personally suited to your pain

Some of these conditions are difficult to manage by any means, such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia, and the effectiveness and potencies of these active treatments do not reach the highest levels of 4 or 5, although they are usually still quite helpful. For decades allopathic medicine did not have much to offer for CFS or fibromyalgia, most doctors telling these millions of sufferers that it was “all in their heads.” Now that drug companies have developed drugs purportedly for these disorders, suddenly they actually do exist to the world of modern mainstream medicine--if no longer in the heads of these patients, then in their pocketbooks.

For many conditions there is a choice of effective treatments as several of the therapies are useful for treating both thick and thin boundary types as well as the common conditions of anxiety and depression. However, in a more general rendering, the chart below shows the treatments that are most specific to thin boundary conditions on the left, with those most specific to thick boundary conditions on the right. In terms of general treatments for your boundary type, the most effective treatments for thick personality boundaries (in this order) are: guided imagery, relaxation/stress management, and meditation/yoga. For thin boundary personalities, hypnosis is the most effective therapy when effective for your condition, followed by acupuncture. Biofeedback is equally effective for thick or thin boundaries.


It is notable that the origins of many chronic pain disorders have remained a mystery to mainstream medical science, and effective treatments have remained elusive. It is well established in medicine that sometimes it is the “treatment profile” of a disease that ultimately provides
clues to help backtrack to its “etiology”--or origins. That is, once effective treatments are found clinically, it often leads to a better understanding of the causes of the disease. Once we figure out how to cure a disease, it gives clues as to what is really causing it in the first place. Now that we can apply the thin and thick boundary concepts to disorders and their treatments, we have another window into what causes these disorders in the first place.

Hypnosis provides a good example of this. Like the other mindbody therapies, how or why this treatment works has not been fully understood. In the absence of a complete understanding of how hypnotism and mind-body medicine really work, the Spiegel doctors, a father and son team, at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, developed “hypnotic susceptibility scales” to be able to predict who would benefit with what types of disorders. This breakthrough provided the comfort of proving statistical associations where a more fundamental “mechanistic” science was lacking.

After nearly a quarter of a millennium, we have now discovered that the susceptibility of individuals to hypnosis also relates to boundary type, again based upon statistical associations. Now you can see, as with other things in life, that really knowing your boundaries is an important key to health, healing, and happiness. Further, you can apply an understanding of your boundary type to the five other common and effective mind-body treatments to seek better, more effective treatments that are specifically suited to you.

About The Authors

Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D., is adjunct professor of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and the founding director of the Policy Institute for Integrative Medicine in Washington, D.C. The author and editor of Fundamentals of Complementary & Alternative Medicine and coauthor of The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion, Your Emotional Type, New World Mindfulness, and Avicenna's Medicine, he lives in Maryland.

Sebhia Marie Dibra contributes a 21st-century perspective on energetics and spiritual dimensions to health and wellness issues, including life cycle and healthy aging. Coauthor of Common Pain Conditions with Marc Micozzi, among other publications, she is on the editorial board of the European Journal of Physics Education and is a biofeedback retreat facilitator at the Academy of Wellness.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts Press (January 1, 2017)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781620555637

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Raves and Reviews

Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain is one of the best books in its field to emerge in recent years. It breaks new ground--choosing a pain therapy based not just on one’s medical diagnosis but also on one’s emotional patterns. As Micozzi and Dibra show, this approach can have an enormous impact on a therapy’s effectiveness. If you or a loved one suffers from acute or chronic pain, or if you are a medical professional who deals with such, please pay attention to the wisdom of this important book.”

– Larry Dossey, M.D., author of One Mind

“This book is full of well-researched solutions that are helpful, healing, non-addicting, and get to the core of the issue, creating better health and relief for those that implement these time-tested solutions.”

– Brigitte Mars, author of Addiction-Free Naturally and The Sexual Herbal

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