Monthly Archives: April 2012
Don’t get too excited! It’s not really a cure (but I got your attention!). It’s more like a band-aid solution that I am using – to stop forgetting things at home.
One of these is a cheque to be delivered to my GP tomorrow when I go to my acupuncturist – something I would probably forget in my haste to leave the house and get to my appointment; another is a cheque to go to my rheumatologist, which is where I am going after shopping at Target – so I know I’ll forget that one; and the last is a letter for my optometrist, which I have to fit in some time tomorrow – so that’s another one that would probably be left behind.
I hit my head on these as I go to my front door. And they are still in a safe place – just not one of THOSE places where I’ll forget them.
When was the last time you laughed until your side hurt from laughing… and not because of your typical aches and pains? Laughter is a natural medicine. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Laughter is a contagious emotion. It can bring people together. It can help us feel more alive and empowered.
I have happy moments and time with friends in which I feel joyful, but I also must admit that I laugh much less than I once did. Illness has a way of aging us much too soon. It makes us too serious at times, because we have to think about how everything will affect our body.
Laughter therapy, also called humour therapy, is the use of humour to promote overall health and wellness. It aims to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort. Laughter has been shown to cause multiple physiological changes that may be beneficial to those of us with fibromyalgia. In a recent report, alternative health experts today tout laughter therapy as a mode of healing any disease from a mild fever to even cancer. It has been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. Although laughter therapy has not been studied specifically for FM, researchers are uncovering more about laughter in general and in painful conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of Laughter
Laughter therapy has been described as great way to relax and de-stress terminally ill patients and those suffering from chronic illnesses. Laughter Yoga is one such exercise that works on changing the physical, emotional and mental state simultaneously thereby bringing a positive outlook towards life and circumstances. A good laugh exercises the lungs and circulatory system and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. The huge therapeutic value of laughter can turn your life and health around. According to some studies, laughter therapy may provide physical benefits, such as helping to:
- Boost the immune system and circulatory system
- Enhance oxygen intake
- Stimulate the heart and lungs
- Relax muscles throughout the body
- Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)
- Ease digestion/soothes stomach aches
- Relieve pain
- Balance blood pressure
- Improve mental functions (i.e., alertness, memory, creativity)
Laughter therapy may also help to:
- Improve overall attitude
- Reduce stress/tension
- Promote relaxation
- Improve sleep
- Enhance quality of life
- Strengthen social bonds and relationships
- Produce a general sense of well-being
Great side effects for something that is free and readily available without a prescription! Many of the things in that list are either known or believed to be involved, to varying degrees, in many FM cases.
Most illnesses today are stress related and chronic stress attacks the immune system and makes us vulnerable to infections, virus attack and cancer. In fact, this is a major motive for people taking to Laughter therapy.
People practicing Laughter therapy regularly report amazing improvement in their health as well as a more positive mental attitude and higher energy levels. The first thing participants say is that they don’t fall sick very often; the frequency of normal cold and flu reduces or even disappears. There are daily reports of partial or total cure of most stress-related illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, depression, asthma, arthritis, allergies, stiff muscles and more. While this sounds fantastic, it all makes perfect sense, as laughter is nature’s best cure for stress.
Scientific research by Dr Lee Berk from Loma Linda University, California proved that laughter strengthens the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells and increase in the antibodies. The immune system is the master-key of health and if it weakens one is exposed to constant infection and sickness.
Stress and depression are two major components of ill health. Most health benefits people get are because they are able to manage physical, mental and emotional stress with Laughter Therapy exercises. Once the stress levels are down, the immune system becomes stronger automatically.
Laughter Therapy As An Exercise
Dr. William Fry, a research scientist from Stanford University scientifically proved that 10 minutes of healthy laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter is the best cardio workout. As an exercise it has similar benefits as compared to any other aerobic activities like jogging, dining swimming and cycling.
Dr Otto Warburg, German scientist and Nobel Laureate said that the main reason we fall sick is because there is lack of oxygen in the body cells. Laughter brings more oxygen to the body and brain. A good supply of oxygen is the key for maintaining good health as well as healing a variety of illnesses.
Laughter Therapy For Depression
Depression is the number one sickness in the world and millions of dollars are spent on producing antidepressant drugs. Laughter therapy is extremely therapeutic for depression as it helps to release certain neurotransmitters from the brain cells as well as help people to stay connected and share their feelings and emotions.
Laughter Therapy For Mental Health
A major causal factor of many illnesses is a person’s inability to express their feelings and emotions. People are afraid of reactions and conflict. As a result they suppress and hold their emotions which ultimately affect the immune system adversely leading to a variety of sickness. Laughter therapy is a cathartic exercise which helps people release their blocked emotions in a non-violent way and makes them emotionally balanced. Bangalore research indicates that laughter also helps to increase positive emotions and decrease the negative ones thereby promoting a healthy life.
Possible Drawbacks of Laughter (did you ever think you’d hear that?)
Some people with fibro say that laughter can trigger post-exertional malaise – a major upswing in symptom severity after exertion. A long, hard laugh could lead to increased pain, especially if the muscles involved are deconditioned. However, this tendency may be countered by the endorphin release and other changes that are similar to the effects of exercise.
A rare side effect of laughter is brief episodes of syncope (fainting), likely due to laughter-induced changes in the autonomic nervous system leading to reduced blood flow to the brain. It’s unknown whether the autonomic dysregulation and blood-flow abnormalities of FM could increase this risk.
- 5 Health Benefits of Laughter (stacyknows.com)
- Why Laughter Keeps You Young …and Healthy too (postworksavvy.com)
- Have a Laugh (healthywealthyhq.com)
- One Good Laugh (anamericanpointofview.wordpress.com)
- Laughter: Good for what ails ya! (thepositivepage.com)
- The Physiology of Laughter: A Brief Overview (rhvillegas.wordpress.com)
- Sharing Some Laughter and Happiness (andyblumenthal.wordpress.com)
- The Magic of Laughter (inspirationalperspective.com)
- Laughter Is Good Medicine (tostir.wordpress.com)
I have recently started ’tweeting’. No idea why…and I really don’t get it – but my competitive side is emerging again and I’m trying hit the big numbers in terms of followers (even though, when I have anything to say, I write here!)
I started following the people who might be of any interest to me: lots of Fibro links (who keep me updated of anything new and exciting), some friends and a couple of politicians.
Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe that SHE is actually following me – it’ll be one of her minions. Nonetheless, I have informed HER (her minion) that Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is coming up and that she is required to wear purple. I figure that this is the most important message that I can send at the moment. Hopefully, her minion will realise how important it is, too, and forward the message to the Great One.
Other than this, I can’t imagine that I have anything of national importance to say. So why is she following me? Even if it’s not HER, why is her minion following me? Doesn’t she (or the minion) have more important things to do? Doesn’t she (or the minion) have better things to do with taxpayers’ money?
So, unless Julia wears purple on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, I declare that my taxpayer dollars are being wasted! (Oh yeah, I’m not earning enough money to pay tax!)
There are 5 stages that make up the framework that allows us to live with loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. They can also be applied our grief over the loss of our ‘old’ selves.
These tools are not stations on a train line. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Have you been to any of these places? Stuck at one?
As you accept the reality of loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade.
But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface…
People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage like getting on and off a train. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.
At times, people in grief will often report more stages. Just remember your grief is as unique as you are.
One day I will wake from a deep sleep,
Jump out of bed, look forward to the day.
I will wake restored and pain-free,
Full of beans, dress for work without delay.
One day I will wake from a deep sleep,
Nothing will hurt, not my ankles, arms, head,
I will wake buzzing and vibrant;
Feeling chipper, on the right side of bed.
One day I will wake from a deep sleep,
To find that this was all a bad dream
And I am me again.
In response to recent comments regarding isolation (on my Facebook page), I am establishing a new health initiative: Fibromyalgia Isolation (a.k.a. Treat Yourself) Day.
Saturday 5th May (in preparation for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day) is the day where you do nothing but RELAX! by yourself – knowing that your other FM friends are doing the same.
I think, as it is a week away, there is enough time to prepare yourself, your families, or anyone else for the day that you do NOTHING!
- Please – International Awareness day for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and Fibromyalgia (FM) (fibromodem.wordpress.com)
- Noise? Light? Smells? Pain? (fibromodem.wordpress.com)