Seligman Medical Institute
Established in 2003 — During this time, we worked out of shared office space in California and Michigan. This website presents a record of Publications, etc. as the TMS research funding ended in 2007. CURRENTLY INACTIVE WITH REGARD TO RESEARCH IN THIS AREA.
Purpose: Research to understand the treatment of back pain and other disorders with a mind-body approach that emphasizes the importance of the mind/brain and attention to psychological issues as a root cause of chronic pain. Involved in the development and implementation of clinical research methods and studies to assess outcomes and mechanisms in mind-body treatment of pain. Research is directed primarily towards the painful psychosomatic condition described by John Sarno, MD as "tension myositis syndrome (TMS)."
Mailing address: Seligman Medical Institute, c/o Ms. Barbara Stewart, One Towne Square, Suite 1913, Southfield, MI 48076.
Email address: SMI@mindbodymedicine.com or write the Foundation Coordinator directly (see below)
Board of Directors: Scott Seligman, Irving Seligman, Sandy Seligman, Tammy Wong, Erwin Rubinstein.
Medical Advisory Board
Chairman: John E. Sarno, MD, Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Rusk Institute, New York University.
Co-Chairman: David Schechter, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, USC School of Medicine, Principal Investigator SMI.
Members: Nancy Selfridge, MD, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison. John Pan, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine, George Washington University.
Phone: Calls are not being received at this time.
Statistical Consultant: Stanley Azen, Ph.D., a respected biostatistician at USC School of Medicine.
To support our efforts: The general public, successful patients, doctors, and other entities may contribute to this non-profit foundation. But please contact us first via email. IRS Federal Tax ID 01-0792167. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. The easiest way to contribute is to mail us a check. Sorry, but we are unable to take online or credit card donations at this time. Your contributions are helping to move this important work forward. For more information on how you can support us, please go to the page titled "For Donors and Collaborators."
What Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) Is
TMS is a painful but benign condition that causes or perpetuates physical pain in the back, neck, and other areas. It is, however, psychologically induced and can be psychologically cured. Its root cause is usually strong, unexpressed, negative emotions that we are afraid to feel consciously. The subconscious mind (via the brain) causes the muscles to tense, creating pain to divert our attention from the threatening emotions. Hence we also call it "distraction pain syndrome (DPS)." Although it can be both debilitating and extremely painful, it involves no tissue damage and can disappear quickly without any permanent residual effects. The theory of TMS was developed by Dr. John Sarno, Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU’s medical school and author of three popular books on it.
Practiced by only twenty or so doctors worldwide, TMS diagnosis and treatment is not taught in either mainstream or alternative medical education, leaving millions of people, who could be mobile and pain-free, to suffer for years, or even decades. At SMI, we believe that TMS treatment will more likely become standard practice once its effectiveness has been demonstrated by proper scientific studies and experiments. Accordingly, SMI did both research and education.
The most frequent objection raised by mainstream medical practitioners against TMS treatment practice is that it has never been scientifically verified. To fill this gap, SMI is:
Gathering data from existing physicians and clinics already treating TMS, organizing it into standard, measurable formats, and analyzing it to determine the effectiveness of TMS treatment programs to date.
Both Drs. Schechter and Smith lecture on the subject of TMS for both health care professionals and the lay public. If the expected audience is large enough, SMI may pay the cost of making either of them available to speak for your organization.
About John Sarno, MD, Discoverer of TMS
Some people follow the trails of others; others blaze a new one. John Sarno is one of the latter. An innovator, successful clinician, and author, Dr. Sarno has agreed to be the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board for SMI.
While practicing as Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU’s Rusk Institute, Dr. Sarno noted that talking to his back pain patients about tension and stress often proved highly effective. He noticed patterns of personality traits in those with persistent pain, and found that teaching them to acknowledge their emotional tension often alleviated their physical symptoms. In this, the diagnosis of TMS (tension myositis syndrome) was born.
About Our Staff...
David Schechter, M.D., Principal Investigator
Having been a patient, student, and research assistant of Sarno’s while a medical student at NYU, Schechter is considered the foremost authority on TMS on the West Coast. His own contributions to TMS treatment include a home program for patients, which includes The MindBody Workbook and a three-hour audio program. In addition to his work at SMI, Schechter has a private practice in the West Los Angeles area. He is Board-certified in both Sports Medicine and Family Medicine, and he has a clinical appointment at the USC School of Medicine and staff privileges at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Visit his Web site to review Dr. Schechter’s TMS site, including links to other sites, educational materials, etc.
Web: http://www.MindBodyMedicine.com (TMS information site),
or http://www.SchechterMD.com (medical practice site)
Arthur Smith, Ph.D., Foundation Coordinator
The son of two physicians, a cancer survivor, and the husband of a 30-year lupus patient, Smith wrote one of the few doctoral dissertations ever written on mind-body medicine (The Power of Thought to Heal, Claremont Graduate University, 1998). In addition to his work with SMI, Smith gives lectures and seminars on mind-body medicine throughout North America for the Noetic Health Institute (Orange County, CA) where he also serves as director. Visit his Web site to view his writings and learn about his seminars and consulting services.