Hi. My acid reflux affects my larynx, not my esophagus, so I had choking, coughing, gagging, and voice-loss kinds of symptoms, not heartburn. While I am definitely no expert in this, my guess would be that you would need to continue on some meds until the damage in your esophagus is healed - using the mindbody connection can potentially help reduce further instances of reflux, but it won't cure the structural damage that is already there.
The idea behind the mindbody connection is that your brain is creating symptoms to distract you from stress, anger, even rage that you're repressing. So, just as your brain causes you to blush when embarrassed (a physical reaction to an emotional trigger), it can cause your esophageal sphincters to allow acid to reflux. Other kinds of pain, such as back or joint pain, are caused (Sarno theorizes) by the body reducing the flow of oxygen to that area to create pain. So it's not an "all in your head" kind of theory - it's real pain, caused by your brain's reaction to repressed rage.
The pain you feel in your chest, I would guess, is now caused by damage done by the acid - it's not your brain depriving it of oxygen. It's like a cut on your arm. It needs to heal. Hopefully, though, using the mindbody connection ideas, you would be able to start to prevent future damage. That's, I think, why I still have some of that lumpy feeling in my throat. The gagging, coughing, and difficulty breathing that occurred when I was refluxing has gone - my hope is with no new acid being introduced into my larynx, the lumpy feeling will go away as well. It certainly has improved.
The causes of the rage could be immediate (things currently happening in your life), left over from childhood, or just a combination of the things we all put up with, finally reaching a critical point. There are certain personality types more susceptible to TMS (tension myositis syndrome, what Sarno has named this condition), such as perfectionists, those who try to please others, those with guilt or dependency issues, among others.
This is really more than "mind over matter," and not even Dr. Sarno claims it is the answer to all medical problems. It's just an acknowledgment that if we don't deal with the psychological, the brain can make the ramifications be physical. By the way, he considers acid reflux to be a TMS "equivalent," which are more complicated than the oxygen deprivation which causes joint pain, but still linked to the psychological. He addresses this in chapter 7 of "The Mindbody Prescript
I hope this helps. Do read the book if any of this seems to be a fit for you. Let me know if I can be of help.
Post Edited (WDC) : 12/3/2006 3:06:50 PM (GMT-7)