Laugh, Eat, Drink, and Be Happy

18720793_s(1)Nowadays, most of us would agree that laughter is good medicine. In fact, research indicates that humor and laughter triggers healthy physiological changes in our bodies— strengthens our immune system, boosts our energy, diminishes pain, and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. Laughter, this powerful force for improving our health, actually changes our body chemistry to promote well being and positive good feelings. So how can we proactively make this powerful tool a part of our life.



Dale Anderson, MD, a family physician for over 40 years, says learning some simple method acting techniques will help us put on a happy face and improve our lives drastically. He is a board-certified surgeon, and emergency physician, certified as a Diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, and currently practices as an urgent care doctor. As a keynote /seminar speaker, who teaches method acting techniques to more than 100 major audiences around the world annually, he shows people how to change their body chemistry and their lives by laughing, and experiencing the subsequent power of laughter.


What’s method acting and laughing have to do with being happy and healthy? Well, according to the doctor in one of his several books, Never Act Your Age, he says practicing laughing has everything to do with getting happy and staying that way. He prescribes method acting techniques to his patients and also teaches it to major audiences around the world, one of which I recently attended as part of a group of over 300, and was totally impressed with his presentation. It confirmed how much I enjoy laughing, how good it makes me feel, and how much I believe in its power.


By acting happy and laughing we turn on our internal chemistry that promotes well-being and good feelings. In fact, medical science can measure the chemistry of feelings qualitatively and quantitatively with a brain pet scan (Positron Emission Topography). Dr. Anderson calls Method Acting Techniques the holistic medicine of the 21st century.

Remember feelings are chemistry, and actions and thoughts change our chemistry. Yes, act happy–be happy, and the more one rehearses the part the more it becomes real.     Dr. Dale Anderson, Never Act Your Age


Method acting was created in the early 1900s by Constantin Stanislavski, who  taught the concepts to his actor students, and.earned recognition as being one of the most influential contributors to theater science,   Some well-known method actors are Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Marilyn Monroe, Suzanne Pleshette, and Shelly Winters, who through the techniques were able to create in themselves the thoughts and feelings of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances.

I discovered that it’s easier to initiate laughter than I once thought it was, and also worth the effort. It’s contagious too, just try not reacting with laughter when someone near you lets loose with a loud guffaw.  I’m convinced that a good belly laugh, that changes my body chemistry, does definitely bring more joy into my life.

Eat and Drink Healthy: If you’re looking for a tasty, nutritious snack to supplement your  diet, one  that helps fuel athletes through grueling long distance events, and also helps fight obesity and high blood pressure, try one of America’s oldest snack foods—nuts.

Almonds are considered one of the healthiest nuts containing the most calcium of any nut and a lot of vitamin E, in addition to heart-healthy fat.

Walnuts are high in omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid, which help curb inflammation and prevent coronary heart disease.

Macadamia nuts are highest in saturated fat, but only 80% is monounsaturated, which can lower triglycerides and have beneficial effects of LDL and HDL cholesterol. Also, contain fiber and protein.

Pistachios are loaded with protein and contain high amounts of carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin for maintaining good vision

Drink: Kombucha – A great tasting and energizing lightly sweetened, fermented tea that dates back to China’s Qin Dynasty, 250 BC, where it was called the Immortal health elixir. It’s low in calories and will do much more than quench your thirst. The fermentation process forms:  Enzymes – to aid digestion
Probiotics – the good bacteria that helps with immune function, nutrient absorption, and inflammation reduction
Polyphenol – antioxidants found in plants
B-Vitamins – helps support and increase metabolism, maintain healthy skin and muscle tone, enhance immune and nervous system function, and promotes cell growth.

Synergy is available at Whole Foods in several flavors including: Cranberry, Gingerberry, and Gingeraide



Our Personal Wellness Program

As the booming wellness industry rapidly expands, we are constantly flooded with information and a myriad of choices for living a healthy active lifestyle; it can be confusing and difficult to decide what is best for us. Hopefully, with the help of several fitness professionals, we investigate and try different types of activities, finally make a decision, and possibly make some adjustments along the way until we feel comfortable with a program that fits our needs.

Angie Thompson Fitness Trainer

A Conditioned Body

The process is similar when choosing a massage therapist & bodyworker. You should try several because therapists are individuals, and our work tends to be eclectic—not cast from a single mold. Even those of us who have been trained identically, with the same amount of experience, add our own intuitive style and personality to our craft. The only sure way to determine how our work differs and which is best for you, is to experience sessions with several therapists.

When a therapist maintains presence during a session, when their mind is clear and devoid of thoughts, it makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of his or her touch—how the client perceives it, and the outcome. Because all clients are also individuals, they perceive and respond to the work differently.

Plantar fascia being lengthened from the heel to the toes

Lengthening the plantar fascia with a gentle sustained stretch

Massage & bodywork is still one of the most underrated types of health care on the market today. Its proven effectiveness for a variety of maladies is still unknown to many. Evidence based research of massage therapy is still in its infancy, but more and more is being done to not only document its effectiveness, but also to explain physiologically why it works so well. Insurance companies are also gradually discovering that it is cost effective too.

Combining therapeutic bodywork with chiropractic, physical therapy, or acupuncture can be synergistic, but it can also be confusing for the client to determine which modality is the most helpful. What works well for one person and a particular problem may not be effective for the next. Even clients presenting with identical symptoms, and treated identically by two different therapists may not produce the same results.

Hip Joint Capsule Mobilization

Hip Joint Capsule Mobilization

When a prospective new client, who is currently seeing another practitioner—massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or acupuncturist, calls me for an appointment, I suggest they continue with their therapist or doctor and not schedule with me until they have completed their present treatment. This helps them clearly determine which modality is most effective. It is also possible to overload our bodies with bodywork.

Designing an effective wellness program combined with exercise, healthy eating habits, and therapeutic massage and bodywork is best done with the assistance of experienced professionals who understand that it’s a personal program, and needs to be tailored to your specific needs in order to be successful in the long run.

Start Living an Active Pain-Free Life

Nowadays, most people would agree that exercising regularly, eating a balanced nutritious diet, and receiving massage & bodywork regularly, would be good for our health.

Start Exercising: The hardest thing about starting anything, especially exercise, is getting through the first painful 2-3 weeks where every workout is a grueling chore we would rather not do, when it’s easy to rationalize—think of all the reasons for not doing it, and quite.

Unfortunately, the fitness wannabes too often quit before their workouts become joyful and worthwhile experiences not to be missed. They fail to realize the often dramatic results of their work that would have, more than likely, motivated them to continue.    Managing Low Back PainBuilding Strong Abdominals

Start Eating Right: I don’t advise my clients on nutrition because it’s beyond the scope of my practice, and It can be confusing to choose the healthiest diet because there are so many competing ideas about nutrition. It also seems every individual case would require evaluation and subsequent suggestions from a professional for the best results.

If I were overweight and had a problem losing it, I wouldn’t hesitate hiring a professional nutritionist and personal trainer, knowledgeable and experienced in safe weight loss.

Start Receiving Bodywork Regularly: I’ve changed my thinking over the years regarding receiving bodywork on a regular basis. I usually see my clients on an average of 1-4 sessions, and only periodically—whenever they have a soft tissue problem.     on site chair massage by Ken Youngberg    Tami Photos Dec 08047

I previously didn’t encourage them to keep coming in regularly once their pain or body dysfunction was resolved because I wasn’t convinced of the need for the additional treatment. It seemed like overkill. Then I started noticing several of my clients who had been coming in regularly for years and realized that we were treating their muscle imbalances before they got to the point of causing trouble. Besides the obvious physical benefits, the subsequent relaxation was good for their psyche as well

As difficult as it is to start a new course of healthy living, the effort to eliminate pain from your life is well worth it. Pain increases stress, interferes with sleep, tends to reduce appetites and adequate nutritional intake, can raise heart rate and blood pressure, inhibits the immune system, delays healing, and is a primary contributor to depression. From Novartis, Monthly Best Practices In Resident-Centered Care.


A Powerful Health-Care Regimen

Most folks I know are willing to invest a few hours a week exercising to improve their health, maintain a positive attitude, and live an active fulfilling life. Research has shown the benefits of therapeutic massage and bodywork for relieving and eliminating soft tissue pain, body dysfunctions, and tension from stress. There are many other advantages of receiving bodywork regularly, in addition to exercising frequently, that is truly a wise investment in your health.

Lengthening the Quadriceps

Lengthening the Quadriceps

Clinical massage and bodywork increases your energy, immunity, joint flexibility, reduces fatigue, lowers blood pressure, enhances quality of sleep, improves circulation, releases endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller, and eliminates headaches.

Home Self-Care—Stretching and Strengthening
I encourage my clients to follow-up our sessions with stretches and exercises, tailored to their specific needs, to maintain the new muscle balance, to stretch the tight overactive muscle fibers we lengthened during treatment, and to strengthen the opposing weak and overpowered muscle groups.

Stretching the Hip Flexors

Stretching the Hip Flexors

There are a variety of self-care tools available for assisting in lengthening and releasing tension in the pertinent fascia and tight muscle fibers: foam rollers, the TheraCane, soft tissue mobilizers, percussion devices, softballs, medicine balls, lacrosse balls, Swiss balls, golf balls, etc.

The 10-10-10 Save Your Eyes Exercise  –  Eyestrain is running rampant. Our faces are fixated on our smart phones, tablets, and computer monitors, in addition to keeping current with our regular printed reading material. The exercise consists of taking your eyes away from the screen or book every 10 minutes and focusing on an object 10 feet away for 10 seconds. Give your eyes a break; Try it.

Enjoy a Spring Tonic Tea
Spring is a great time to invigorate our bodies with a tonic tea. Not all herbs are tonic herbs; some have an overall affect on several bodily systems, while others address a narrow range of processes.  22961536_m

Tonics can be taken in many forms, including tinctures, extracts, capsules—but teas
are easy to prepare and therapeutic to sip. Use organic herbs for tonic teas whenever possible.

2 parts burdock root
1 part dandelion leaf
2 parts enchinacea c/s
1 part ginger root c/s
1 part licorice root c/s
1 part nettle leaf c/s
2 parts red clover blossoms
2 parts sarsaparilla

Combine herbs and mix well. Use two teaspoons herb blend per cup of water, steep for 5-6 minutes and strain. Drink up to four cups per day as a spring tonic.

Spending a few hours every week exercising–our eyes included,  receiving massage and bodywork, and perhaps sipping a spring tonic tea to improve our health, is a small price to pay to maintain a positive attitude, and live an active full pain-free life.