Just read a very interesting article in the New Yorker about Dr. Kataria and the laughter yoga movement.
Depending on how you look at it, there is now belief in or evidence on the healing power of laughter. Not only that it can lift your spirits, but alleviate pain, exercise your internal organs, boost your immune system, and help you sleep; it may even alter the progress of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons.
What’s really shocking to me is a study cited, performed by Robert Ader in 1975 at the University of Rochester. The purpose of his experiment was to see if rats could be conditioned to associate nausea with saccharin. The drug administered along with saccharin caused nausea. When the rats started to die, Ader stopped administering the drug alongside the sweetener; the rats still died. It was discovered that not only did the rats learn to associate saccharine with the drug, a drug which was discovered to suppress the immune system, but the rat’s memory of this immune suppression continued whenever they tasted the sweetener. “In other words, their minds were killing them.”
This led to the realization that positive physical, mental, and emotional “feelings” have the power to rehabilitate the body’s chemistry.
You can watch the video of Dr. Kataria and some of his laugh-yoga sessions here.
To contribute, I just spent half an hour trying to find the clip from the first 5 minutes of a West Wing episode which discusses a sex-education report and a regrettable use of the term “sticky wicket.” No luck. Please post if you can find it. THAT will make you laugh.