Get Your Free Medicine
“Get Your Free Medicine” Rev. Christine 8/10/14 Today we’re continuing with the benefits of laughter to heal, and this week its about our body. I’m referencing Annette Goodheart’s book Laughter Therapy; How to laugh about everything in your life that isn’t really funny. Last week we practiced saying “Ha Ha, Tee-Hee.” Let’s do this now. This is by Mark Twain from “Tom Sawyer”, “The old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man’s pocket, because it cut down the doctor’s bills like everything.” Laughter engages every major system of the body. We literally lose muscle control. That is why we fall out of our chairs laughing. Scientists are studying pygmies because they fall down when they laugh. Plains Creek Indians are told to lean on something when they laugh. Laughter indeed is the loss of control. Because the diaphragm keeps us breathing, it has been called the muscles of inspiration. Laughter exercises our diaphragm. When we laugh our diaphragm convulsively pulls on our side muscles. It creates a massive massaging action for our innards. No amount of running around the park massages our innards the way laughter does. Laughter giggles and massages every organ of our body. Laughing oxygenates the blood helps us to have plump juicy organs, rather than shriveled up ones. Laughter dilates our cardiovascular system. Initially, when we laugh, our heart rate and blood pressure soar, but when we stop laughing they drop below our normal rate for a while, and then returns to its normal rate. The more you laugh, the greater your ability to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Adults laugh about 15 times a day compared to a child at 400-500 times. It is the exercise and workout of laughter that help keep our cardiovascular system healthy. When we laugh we inhale massive amounts of air. We gulp large amounts of oxygen, which sends richly oxygenated blood supply to our relaxed muscles. Laughter has been clocked exiting our lungs at speeds up to 70 miles an hour. Needless to say, this gives our respiratory system a massive workout. Lao Tsu said “As soon as you have made a thought, laugh at it.” Scans taken of the brain have shown that while stressed the left and right brain hemispheres differed considerably in color and pattern. After the patient laughed the scan repeated found the two hemispheres almost identical in appearance. Countless chemicals are produced in our brains and throughout our bodies when we laugh. Natural brain beta-endorphines and opiates and pain relievers are released when we laugh. Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by a Patient, reported that after 15 minutes of belly laughter, he cold sleep pain-free, drug free for two hours. He accomplished this in spite of an excruciatingly painful disease. When we laugh our facial muscles are exercised. There is a direct connection from our facial muscles to our Thymus gland, the master gland of our immune system. This gland shrinks under stress. While you use the muscles of your face through laughter, tears, rage, and yawns, the Thymus gland relaxes and expands. In its expansive state it functions at its peak. The Thymus gland produces lymphocytes that contain cancer killing T-cells. T-cells attack the cancer cells that we produce everyday, and literally rip them apart. People have been known to cure cancer by visualizing their T-cells as an army attacking and killing the enemy of cancer cells. Through repeated focus on the Thymus gland while visualizing they were able to increase the number of T-cells produced and win the battle. A client came to Goodheart who had a tumor on their thymus gland, in hope that laughter therapy may help. This person told her that ever since the tumor, the muscles on the side of his face opposite the tumor no longer functioned. Their eyelid and mouth drooped considerably. Goodheart suggested to prop their face up while laughing. Every morning the client did just that; and the tumor began to shrink, and the muscles of the face also began to return normal. There is an alternate way to stimulate the Thymus gland. You can thump it. In New Guinea there is a tribe whose members thump their Thymus glands every morning upon awakening. To locate your thymus gland its right below the upper part of the breast bone, put your chin on your chest. “There isn’t much fun in medicine but there’s a great deal of medicine in fun.” from the Journal of American Medical Association. Pain is our friend. It is our warning system and an ally against disease, destruction and death. Pain notifies us that something is amiss. It’s a red flag that calls out: “Yoo-Hoo! Pay attention over here!” The “OW” and laughter technique helps to reduce pain. Goodheart worked with a client who was in the hospital for having a tumor removed by their knee. There was an incision about 10-12 inches long. The client insisted on not being sedated during the operation, so that the healing process could begin more quickly. As soon as the client returned to their room following surgery, Goodheart began her work. She had the client press very lightly around the incision area and say “OW!” and laugh. The more the client pressed the louder the “OW!” the harder the laugh. In between the laughter, she had her client relate the events of the surgery to process the emotions which prevented tension storing around the traumatized area, and to heal faster. In about half an hour, the incision was taking more and more pressure for the client to feel pain. The surgeon came in and was surprised by the patient being able to kick their leg out. Within a few hours the client was walking. Voltare said “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.” Back in 1977, I was in a major car accident that had crushed and mangled my left foot and ankle. Stanford put me back together again with lots of hardware in my ankle and foot. I was laid up for a year; literally my leg was up in the air most of the time. During recovery I used laughter to assist in relieving pain and tension. I would take pain medicine just prior to doing the afternoon physical therapy which was very painful - its hard to purposely inflict pain on oneself. While on crutches I would increase the body weight on my left foot by 5 pounds each week, starting with just 5 pounds; luckily I was much lighter then. I would also chant “I can do it, I can do it” and the more it hurt the louder I chanted. When done, I would then put my foot up, and watch a rerun of the Carol Burnett Show on TV to help me laugh and break the cycle of pain without taking anymore drugs, and be able to sleep that evening. About 5 years later I had the hardware removed, and again used laughter. Fake it till you make it! Laughter doesn’t have to be authentic for healing results, and eventually you will be laughing for real. There are laughing yoga groups around the world. In these groups people are taught how to laugh by making funny faces, and just fake it until they are truly laughing. “Laughter makes your thymus plumper and your circulation stronger, Laughter stimulates your pumper; helps you live a little longer. Laughter helps you keep your health and it might increase your wealth: So, don’t let your organs shrivel – give a smile, a laugh, a giggle! It improves the atmosphere and you’ll spread a lot of cheer!” By Mercedes Nelson, RN, BSBA Let’s all make a funny face, stick out the tongue, and begin laughing.