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Laugh Your Way To Better Health
Laughing is internal jogging for your body, so practice it often.
Dr. Catherine and Maureen Maloof
Table of Contents
How Norm Cousins Laughed His Way Back to Health
This story is a summarized version of an article "Anatomy of and Illness" by Norm Cousins from the New England Journal of Medicine.
In 1964 Norm Cousins was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, which meant the connective tissue of the spine was disintegrating. The doctor told him that he had a 1 in 500 chance for full
recovery. The specialist had also stated that he had not personally witnessed a recovery from this comprehensive condition. Norm felt a compulsion to get into the act instead of being a passive observer. He had remembered reading Hans Seyle’s The Stress of Life, about adrenal exhaustion and how it could have ill effects on your health. Adrenal exhaustion can be caused by emotional tension, such as frustration or suppressed rage. Negative emotions have a direct effect on body chemistry.
A question arose in his mind: What about the positive emotions? If negative emotions produce negative chemical changes in the body, wouldn’t the positive emotions produce positive chemical changes? Is it possible that love, hope, faith, confidence, and the will to live have therapeutic value? Do chemical changes occur only on the downside?
Norm was taking painkilling drugs- aspirin, phenylbutazone, codeine, colchicine, and sleeping pills. The hospital had given him maximum dosages and he had hives all over his body and felt as if his skin was being chewed up by millions of red ants. If he stopped taking the medication the pain was excruciating and the bones in his spine and every joint in his body felt like it had been run over by a truck.
Norm came up with an idea. He decided to start a program with affirmative emotions to enhance the body’s chemistry. It was easy to have hope, love, and faith, but what about laughter? Nothing is less funny than being flat on your back with all the bones in your spine and joints hurting. A good place to begin was with amusing movies. Allen Funt producer of Candid Camera sent films of his CC classics with a motion picture projector and had the nurse play them for Norm.
It worked!!! He made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, he would switch on the movies and this would lead to another pain-free sleep interval. Sometimes the nurse would read to him out of humor books.
How scientific was it to believe that laughter-as well as positive emotions in general-was affecting my body chemistry for the better? If laughter did in fact have a salutary effect on the body’s chemistry, it seemed at least theoretically that it would enhance the system’s ability to fight the inflammation. So they took sedimentation rate readings just before as well as several hours after the laughing episode. Each time there was a drop of at least five points. The drop by itself was not substantial, but it held and was cumulative. He was greatly elated by the discovery that there is a physiologic basis for the ancient theory that laughter is good medicine.
Norm was laughing so hard that he was disturbing other patients and was moved to a hotel. Meanwhile the laughter was in full force and he was completely off drugs and natural sleep without pain was becoming prolonged. On the end of the eighth day he was able to move his thumbs without pain. His sedimentation rate kept dropping and the nodules in his neck and hands were shrinking. He had no doubt in his mind that he was going to make it back all the way.
The connective tissue in his spine was regenerating. He could function, and the feeling was indescribably beautiful. All his infirmities did not disappear overnight. Even so, he sufficiently recovered to go back to his job at the Saturday Review full time again, and that was miracle enough for him.
How Emotions Affect Your Health
I tell you this story about Norm Cousins to show you how important your emotions are and how they definitely affect your health and nervous system. I have studied many techniques to treat my patients. The special gentle techniques that I use in my office clear out emotional stress as well since it plays such a significant role in your well being. There are three components to health: physical, nutritional, and emotional. I realized that if I just treated one component that I would not receive outstanding results with my patients. That is why I am continually researching the latest techniques not only to treat you on a physical level, but emotionally and nutritionally as well. It is so true that "What you think about you bring about." You must start seeing your body as healthy, fit, and strong(even if it isn’t quite there yet). The first step to getting well is a belief and certainty that you can get well. The more you have positive and loving thoughts in your mind this will create a healthier mind and body.
Quotes and Jokes
It takes 42 muscles to frown and only 7 muscles to smile. So Keep on Smiling!!!!!!(Dr. Maloof)
Little children laugh about 100 times a day, whereas adults laugh only about 3 times per day(if they are lucky). Let’s be more like little children and laugh more (we can even laugh at ourselves). Stop taking life so seriously. (Dr. Maloof)
A guy was telling a friend that he had a great dinner last night with his wife at a wonderful restaurant. The friend asked the name of the restaurant and the guy couldn’t remember the name of it. He said what’s the red flower with the stem and the thorns? The friend says a Rose, so the guy turns to his wife and says Rose, what was the name of the restaurant we ate at last night?
A cat was crossing the street with her 5 kittens all lined up behind her in a row. When they got to the other side a big, ferocious dog came over to the mother cat and started barking loudly at her trying to scare her. The cat barks back at the dog and the dog was so shocked he ran away. The mother cat says to her kittens and says, see I told you how important it is to know a second language.
Maloof Comedy Monday
Since laughter is such good medicine, I decided that we should have a laughing party and see how great we can feel!!! You are all invited, please bring your family and friends(especially the funny ones). We are all going to share our favorite jokes(clean ones please). I know you are thinking I’m not good at telling jokes well neither am I but it is a great time just to get together and have fun. If you live out of the area, please email me your favorite joke and I can share it with the group.
Date: Monday February 10th
Place: Maloof Chiropractic
Address: 23166 Los Alisos #114
RSVP: (949) 581-6543
Directions: On websitewww.drmaloof.com
We will see you next Monday, we will have some healthy snacks, and join in on all the fun and laughs!!!!
If you, a friend or family member would like a consultation please call my office and schedule a time.
Dr. Catherine Maloof
Dr. Maloof Online,ã 2003
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