RJ Dance Studio
Discover the Romance! the Sizzle! the Fun! of Dancing Together!
ballroom,swing,latin,disco dancers There is a season for everything under heaven;

A time to mourn,
and a time to dance.
Ecl 3:1, 4b
Life's a Dance-
Don't Miss a Step of It!
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Proponents of DanceSport are quick to endorse the physical prowess required at competition level. Doctors in Germany did tests in which they strapped heart-rate monitors to both the country's top amateur dancers and its 800-meter-dash champion. When the dancers danced and the runner ran, the researchers found that more physical exertion was demanded by a two-minute quickstep than by an 800-meter run. The only difference was the dancers wore tails and ball gowns (and high heels!) while the runner wore shorts. (Amateur Dancers #104, Nov/Dec 1996)
Strictly Dance
Healthy Dance Notes
Dance Posture

Mental Health
Laugh More
Cold Weather Exercise
The World's Best "Drug"

Drink Your Water
Genes vs Jeans
Herb Caution
Skinny on Fats
Snack Tip
Your Spine
Backpack Safety
Is Your Spine Healthy?
Sit Up Tall

Helping Sore Muscles Recover
Minimizing Sore Muscles
Many of these health articles are provided by Dr. Rick Allen.

Dr. Rick (as he is called in the dance community) is a chiropractor, massage therapist and dance student in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Rick welcomes your questions and suggestions for future articles. However, he cannot make specific diagnoses or treatment recommendations.

Dr Rick can be reached by phone: 503-257-1324.
Mail: 221 NE 78th Avenue,
Portland, OR 97213
or his web page: Dr. Rick
Healthy Dance Notesnotenote
Dance is a great form of exercise while allowing you to be as energetic as you like. some estimate social levels of dancing to burn 100-400 calories/hr, while competitive dancers burn 600+ calories/hr. Two to three hours of continuous social dancing can give you an excellent low-impact aerobic workout. Dancing is also a fun substitute for boring exercise programs designed for recovering surgery & heart patients.

If you are to dance well , it requires good posture, which helps you breath better, walk better and look and feel younger!

Finally, dancing is one of the few activities men and women can enjoy together. It allows people to dress up for an evening out. It's a great way to meet people, make new friends and interact socially. Dancers are the nicest people!

Over 20 Great Benefits of Dancing

  1. No calories, no fat, no sugar!
  2. Burns 100-400 calories per hour
  3. Increases energy
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Increases lung capacity & respiratory function
  6. Increases circulation
  7. Can slow degenerative changes in skeletal structure (such as osteoporosis)
  8. Strengthens our weight bearing bones
  9. Increases flexibility and functioning of joints
  10. Increases muscle tone
  11. Sharpens coordination, balance & reaction time
  12. Improves posture
  13. Improves internal organ functions because of improved posture
  14. Improves mental health and attitude
  15. Reduces stress and depression
  16. Improves sleep & increases vigor
  17. Helps overcome social awkwardness
  18. Improves self-esteem and confidence
  19. Helps meeting new people easier
  20. Fun social activity men and women can enjoy together.

See "Good Dancing Posture" and "Exercise - The Best Drug" articles immediately below for even more dance benefits.
Nutrition Tip By Rick Allen, DC
Choose your snacks wisely. Avoid processed foods loaded with sugar that can lead to adult onset diabetes and hydrogenated fats that clog your arteries, contributing to strokes and heart attacks. Instead, fill up with nutritious snacks - fruits and vegetables are best. They contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water to help you stay healthy.

Herb Warning By Rick Allen, DC
Caution : While many herbs are easily available without a prescription and appear to be safe, I suggest you check with a knowledgeable local health care provider about the appropriate use in your specific case. Even natural herbs need to be used with appropriate caution.

Good Dancing Posture and Biomechanics

By Rick Allen, DC
Here are three tips for applying the rules of good posture and biomechanics to achieve better dancing:
  1. Ground yourself - imagine your feet are suction cups sticking to the floor.
  2. Center yourself over the balls of your feet.
  3. Stand with good dancing posture:
  • Imagine a balloon lifting your head
  • Keep your chin level Torso/chest up - Imagine upper back at T4 pulled up and back (T4 is the fourth thoracic vertebra, located about 1/4 the way down your back, between your shoulder blades.)
  • Shoulders down, with shoulder blades back
  • Lift your abdominal wall
  • Put your hip joints forward
  • Drop your tailbone toward the floor, rather than tucking your tail.

dancing notes

Exercise: The Best "Drug"

By Rick Allen, DC
Exercise has many beneficial effects. As Covert Bailey says, "If the benefits of exercise could be put into a bottle, it would be the most widely-prescribed drug in the world." Guess that makes exercise the best "drug" in the world! Yet, when I counsel a patient to exercise, I often get an answer like, "Yeah, doc, I know all about exercise and diet, but what can I really do to help?"
Often it appears that things with which you are very familiar are automatically either ignored or discounted. Don't ignore or discount this miracle cure. Among the many benefits of exercise are:
  • Cardiovascular benefits - lowers total cholesterol, lowers the bad LDL cholesterol, raises the good HDL cholesterol, decreases blood pressure, decreases frequency of heart disease.
  • Immune system benefits - decreases number and severity of colds and flu, decreases rates of cancer.
  • Digestive benefits - improves digestion, cures constipation.
  • Blood sugar benefits - helps normalize levels, preventing or controlling hypoglycemia and adult diabetes.
  • Obesity - increases use of calories at rest (with a carry-over effect to the next day!), increases muscle-to-fat ratio, routine use over years cures obesity.
  • Mental health benefits - lowers stress, elevates mood, enhances sense of well being, eases depression and grief.
  • Sexuality benefits - enhances sexual enjoyment, regular use enhances sexual attractiveness.
  • Miscellaneous benefits - improves body odor, decreases tendency to abuse damaging drugs, alcohol and tobacco, increases average life span, improves quality of life (especially in later years).
So why doesn't everyone use this miracle "drug", especially since it's inexpensive and readily available? The answer is that you can't just go out and buy a bottle. Everyone has to put in time and effort to get their own personal supply. Take another look at the list of benefits. Start taking the steps, even little baby steps, toward better health.

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Drink Lots of Water

By Rick Allen, DC
Especially during the heat of summer, drinking plenty of water is imperative! Water makes up 60% of our bodies and 70% of our muscles. It carries nutrients to our tissues and waste products away. When we don't have enough water, our performance lags. Strength, power, and endurance all suffer. Evaporative cooling requires 2 to 3 liters of perspiration per hour during heavy exercise. Just remember how much you perspired dancing a fast Lindy in a hot dance hall! Loss of body water equaling just 1 to 3% of the body weight will have an adverse effect on athletic performance (read "dancing"). You may even get to the point of having weak knees and a foggy brain from heat exhaustion. Worse yet can be heat stroke, when the body's sweating shuts down in an attempt to conserve water and the body temperature rises quickly to a dangerous level.
  1. Don't Wait Until You Feel Thirsty - So what's wrong with just waiting until our brain flashes a warning "You're thirsty - drink now"? Thirst may not occur until more than 1% of your body weight is lost. This is equivalent to about three cups of fluid. This doesn't sound like much, but it is enough to decrease performance. Because the body's thirst mechanism does not work well during exercise, you must be sure to drink more than enough to just quench your thirst.
  2. Choosing The Right Fluids - Plain cool water is the best and cheapest source of fluid. Drinking water is the easiest way to rehydrate the body. Cool fluids are absorbed faster than warmer ones and are less shocking to the stomach than ice cold ones. Generally, we have sufficient carbohydrates and minerals to last an evening of dancing, so sports drinks or carbohydrate replacements designed for long distance runners are not usually necessary. Stay away from salt tablets. They actually draw water out of the blood stream into the stomach. Fruit juice diluted 1:1 with water is good. The dilution brings the carbohydrate concentration down to 6 to 8%, which is the optimum for absorption. Soda pop and undiluted juices are too rich in carbohydrate, which can cause stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee, and cola beverages, and alcohol are diuretics and dehydrate the body even more.

    At longer events, such as Folk Life, where people dance for three days solid each Memorial Day weekend in Seattle, I suggest eating foods that contain a lot of water, such as oranges, watermelon, apples, and grapes.
  3. How Much Water Is Enough? - You need to drink water before, during and after dancing. Drink a glass of water before you get started dancing. Later, you should drink at least 3-4 ounces of water every 15 minutes when dancing vigorously. That's two cups an hour. Sounds like a lot, but it is only about half the amount you can loose by heavy sweating. You definitely need to continue rehydrating after the dance. Down another glass or two before leaving the dance hall. That will give your body a chance to rehydrate before you go to bed.
  4. Bring Your Water Bottle - It is a good idea to bring a water bottle to the dance. Filled with good, clean, filtered water, it prompts you to rehydrate all evening long. If, instead, you choose to ask for water from the bar or your server, I suggest you tip them generously early in the evening. They are providing a service that will keep you dancing at your best!

dancing notes

Minimizing Sore Muscles

By Rick Allen, DC
Would you like to avoid that tired, achy feeling you may have experienced 24 to 48 hours after dancing vigorously? Technically, it is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. Here are five simple suggestions that can help you instead feel great the day after any athletic activity, including dancing:
  1. Warm up - Start with a slow warm up. A Foxtrot will do nicely. Cold muscles suddenly put to work are more likely to become damaged than ones that have been warmed up properly. Warming up gradually will increase your heart and breathing rates, increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles before you begin to work them hard. In addition, your joints secrete more synovial fluid and become less stiff. The body is properly adapting to the demands of exercise.
  2. Stretch - Between dances, do a bit of stretching. You can do some beneficial stretches unobtrusively even when dressed nicely. Slowly bend down, reaching for your toes. Hang forward, counting to 15. Let gravity do the stretching. Don't force the stretch. Then lean over to each side, making a giant letter "C", again for 15 seconds. Then bend your knees and shift from side to side, stretching the groin muscles. Lastly, roll your shoulders around a couple of times. Now you're ready for more vigorous dancing!
  3. Drink lots of water - During the dance, be sure to drink lots of water. Without enough water, your body doesn't function optimally. You "wilt," much like a plant that needs water. Avoid alcohol, which is a diuretic, stealing water from your body. The same goes for coffee or soda with caffeine.
  4. Increase your activity gradually - In general, do not increase the intensity or duration of your dancing more than 10% in a week. Do not increase both intensity and duration during the same week. Allow your body to recover properly and adapt slowly to improved performance levels.
  5. Dance frequently - Lastly, I have found the best strategy to minimize sore muscles is to exercise frequently - dancing 2 or 3 times a week! Doctor's orders!

dancing notes

Helping Sore Muscles Recovery Naturally

By Rick Allen, DC
Even with the preventative strategies, you are likely to develop sore muscles at some time. Because of heavy advertising, you may think the answer is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen, Advil or Allieve. Think twice. There's now evidence that anti-inflammatories reduce discomfort because they are also analgesic (painkillers), but actually slow healing because they suppress beneficial prostaglandins, agents which help the body heal naturally. Worse yet, taken at typical dosages over a lifetime, the risk of kidney failure increases 7 to 8 fold.
A better natural strategy is to do the following:
  1. 1. Drink lots of water - Even more than the usually recommended 6 to 8 glasses each day.
  2. Take 1000 mg of vitamin C and 100-200 mg of bromelain, an enzyme from pineapples, for two days - These are natural anti-inflammatories. Commercially available herbal formulas may also contain quercetin, tumeric and white willow. White willow is the natural precursor for aspirin, so avoid this if you are sensitive or allergic to aspirin.
  3. Do some gentle exercise - Just like racehorses that are walked out after a race and ridden lightly the next day.
  4. Get a massage - Even though research hasn't proved this to speed healing, athletes reported lower levels of DOMS after massage. In addition, massage has been shown to stimulate neutrophils (white blood cells that fight inflammation). I've treated lots of athletes who will testify as to how much better they feel after a massage. Many of the bicyclists who ride 400+ miles over the week of Cycle Oregon swear by it.
  5. Take an epsom salt bath or use the pool and hot tub for 15 minutes of relaxation.
The last three encourage good blood flow through your muscles. That's the key to quick, natural healing.

dancing notes

Your Genes Versus Your Jeans

Are you destined to be fat?
By Rick Allen, DC
The media recently have played up the idea that some individuals are genetically predisposed to becoming overweight. That is, these people may be destined to be fat. Is it heredity or life-style that has made us the fattest folks on earth? Two recent studies aimed a spotlight on the answer.

As reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, investigators compared life-styles, weight, and body fat of 485 pairs of identical or fraternal, healthy, middle-aged, female twins. Not surprisingly, they discovered that women who exercised most frequently are less fat. In fact, regular physical exercise was the strongest predictor of total body fat. Furthermore, "regular exercise is the best method of maintaining healthy weight - even in individuals predisposed to higher levels of body fat.

In another study, Louisiana State University researchers took a close look at the vegetables today's kids eat. The top two: potato chips and French fries. These two high-fat, low nutrition foods comprised 27 to 40% of the vegetables consumed by teenagers from 1994 to 1996. In a statement released by the University, Dr. Catherine Champagne noted, "French fries and potato chips are no match for a serving of carrots, broccoli, or even a plain backed potato. Instead of receiving a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in a package that delivers little fat and relatively few calories, children are getting a high-fat, high-calorie food with little nutritional value."

Is the answer clear? Eat smart and get regular exercise! A simple formula for great health that is especially important with the approaching holiday season. Enjoy it in good health!

dancing notes

The Skinny on Fats

By Rick Allen, DC
Are all fats bad? Should I eat fat-free everything? No! Our bodies require fats to stay healthy. They are an essential component of cell membranes, the building blocks for hormones, and a major component of the brain. I recommend that 15 to 20 percent of the calories in your diet be from fat. Unfortunately, most Americans currently eat two to three times this amount. Worse, they eat the wrong types of fat.

It is common knowledge that excess fat make you fat and clogs your arteries, leading to heart attacks and other diseases. According to Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. in his recent book, Brain Longevity, "excess dietary fat has two devastating effects upon the brain: it impairs cerebral circulation, and it creates millions of free radicals that, literally over a lifetime, rot your brain.

Margarine is the highest source of fat for Americans. This is the absolute worst form of fat. It has been chemically transformed into a particularly destructive form of fat called "trans-fatty acid." One study referenced by Khalsa showed that women who ate four or more teaspoons of margarine per day had a 66-percent higher chance of contracting cardiovascular disease than women who ate about one teaspoon per month. Also, women who eat relatively high levels of these fats have a much higher probability of contracting breast cancer, the number-one cancer killer in women. When men eat this form of fat, they greatly increase their risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, I agree with Drs. Khalsa and Andrew Weil, M.D., who recommend we not use margarine at all.

I suggest using small amounts of monosaturated olive, canola, and flaxseed oils. Use a small amount of peanut oil for stir-fry cooking. Avoid fried or processed foods. Don't fall for the "fat-free" craze. These products are often highly processed and contain large amounts of sugar.

dancing notes

Top Five Excuses for Not Exercising in Cold Weather
and why they don't work....

By Rick Allen, DC
  1. I'11 freeze my lungs.
    As freezing air makes its way through your body and down to the lungs, the body warms it up. There is no scientific evidence to show you can freeze your lungs. However, it can be more comfortable to exercise in the cold if you cover your nose and mouth with a scarf.

  2. I can't keep warm.
    Keeping warm is a lot easier than you might think. Just follow the three-layer principle: wear an inner layer of wool, silk, or a synthetic fabric to wick away sweat; an insulating layer of wool or a synthetic fabric to keep the body warm; and an outer layer to provide protection from wind and rain. Most sporting goods stores have a wide selection of outdoor exercise clothing.

  3. It's not safe.
    Cold weather exercise can be safe if you plan ahead. Exercise during the day. The light will help you see icy or hazardous areas while the sun will keep you warmer. If you must exercise when it's dark, avoid high-volume traffic areas and wear bright clothing and reflective strips.

  4. I can't get a decent workout.
    Many athletes think that because you sweat less in the cold, you're not getting as good of a workout. This is not true. In fact, it takes a little more energy to exercise in cold weather than it does in warm weather. Winter is a good time to build a running base, work on steady-state training, or try a new sport such as cross-country skiing.

  5. It's a hassle.
    Set your running clothes aside so they are easy to find and put on. Run your usual routine with a warm-up, training run, and a cool down. Then return indoors to stretch.

For specific questions about exercising in cold weather, contact Dr. Rick Allen at www.teleport.com/~drrick/, e-mail him at drrick@teleport.com or call at (503) 257-1324.
Dr. Allen is a Professional Member of the American Medical Athletic Association, www.americanrunning.org.

dancing notes

Get Your Spine Checked
for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex

By Rick Allen, DC
What is the vertebral subluxation complex?
What are three basic causes of subluxations?
What are the effects of subluxations?
Why should I be checked for a subluxation by a chiropractor?

The vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) explains abnormal spinal function. You might think of early VSC as the cause of spinal decay, much like a small cavity sets the stage for dental decay. The vertebral subluxation complex is the underlying cause of many health problems and is recognized by its five component parts:
  1. Spinal Kinesiopathology - abnormal motion or position of spinal bones
  2. Neuropathophysiology - abnormal nervous system function
  3. Myopathology - abnormal muscle function
  4. Histopathology - abnormal soft tissue function
  5. Pathophysiology - abnormal function of the spine and body.
There are three basic causes of subluxations:
  1. Physical trauma, like a car accident, the birth process, slipping and falling, or sitting for long periods of time.
  2. Emotional stress, such as worry, fear or anger.
  3. Environmental toxins, pollution, chemical imbalances, alcohol and drugs.
Which one or combination of these three do you think may have caused subluxations in your spine?

Because the VSC affects the function of your nervous system, it affects every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. You may say that "my neck is stiff" or "my back is out," thinking only of the function of muscles and bones. In reality, nervous system impairment can increase your susceptibility to disease and ill health. Clearly, the VSC may be one of the most common, yet overlooked sources of health problems.
The detection, reduction, and prevention of the VSC is the unique domain of the Doctor of Chiropractic. If you suspect that you, or someone you know, may be suffering from subluxation, contact a chiropractor near you. If you are in the greater Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, I would be happy to examine your spine and, if subluxations are present, outline a treatment plan.

dancing notes

Take a Break and Sit Up Tall

By Rick Allen, DC
Your mother, father, and dance teacher have all probably harped at you about "standing up straight."
It is so important, and so overlooked, that I want you to bring it to your consciousness by trying an experiment to actually feel what your upper back and neck muscles do all day long.

Do a Simple Experiment
Take a 10-lb. weight and, while seated, hold the weight in your hand close to your shoulder with your elbow supported on the arm of a chair. No problem, right? Now take your hand and hold the weight out away from your body. A little tougher, right? This is what happens when your head, which weighs about 10+ lbs., moves out in front of your shoulders. You not only loose the natural neck curve, you build up tension in your neck and shoulders. It can be a source of neck and back pain, headache, and, long-term, detrimental changes in the muscles, ligaments and bones of your neck and back.

Try this experiment mimicking forward head posture. Really get a feel for the problem.

Take Personal Action
As one step toward correction, take a mini-break every 15 minutes while sitting reading or working on the computer. Stretch your neck and back from side to side. Look across the room. Breath deeply in and out three times. Resume your work reinvigorated!

If Necessary, Get Additional Help
Be aware of the tendency to sit with your head forward and shoulders hunched up. Awareness in the first step. Taking personal action is a second step. You may need to take a third step of seeking professional help from a chiropractor who specializes in postural correction.

Additional resources
I have placed more information on this and related topics on my web site: http://www.teleport.com/~drrick/. The articles specifically about posture are:
December 1999-February 2000-Current series on back pain and correcting posture.
December 1998: Psoas - Hidden Influence on Posture
September 1997: Better Posture…Better Health…Better Dancing
June 1996: The Graceful Illusion.

You are invited to watch a half-hour video of good and bad posture on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida by Paul St. John, LMT. It is a real eye-opener. Please call if you would like to watch it at my clinic: 503-257-1324.

dancing notes
Backpack Safety Now Pays Lifelong Dividends
By Rick Allen, DC

Improper Use of Backpacks Leads to Chronic Back Pain
Across the nation, millions of elementary, high school, college and adult students are racing out to the school bus or scurrying to their classes with over stuffed backpacks slung over their shoulders. While carrying a backpack to school each morning might seem harmless enough, it can cause some painful back and neck problems that can last a lifetime for students who don't pack or carry their backpacks properly.

Did you know…
  • Most children carrying backpacks are loaded down with nearly 40 lbs. of books, sports equipment, clothing, calculators, games, and more.
  • Spinal damage may be suffered by misusing backpacks.

Back pain is pervasive in our society. Eighty percent of all Americans will suffer from it at some point in their lives, and 50 percent of us will suffer from low-back pain this year alone. Low-back pain is the most common health problem experienced by working Americans today, and a condition which costs our nation's economy at least $50 billion a year in lost wages and productivity. Much of this suffering is brought on by bad habits initiated during our younger years -- such as carrying overweight and improperly balanced backpacks to school. The improper use of backpacks can lead to muscle imbalance that could turn into chronic back and neck problems later in life. Like preventative dental care, preventative chiropractic care pays dividends throughout life.

What Can You Do?
  • Keep the load reasonable- not more than 15 percent of body weight.
  • Use a backpack with individualized compartments and adjustable, padded straps.
  • Use a backpack with a padded hip belt for heavier loads.
  • Pack correctly: heavier items at the bottom and sharp objects away from back.
  • Wear both shoulder straps.
  • Have your child's posture and backpack checked by Dr. Allen (or other qualified chiropractor in your area). Dr. Allen conducts regular checkups.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher. It might be possible for your child to leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter handout materials or workbooks. If necessary, your doctor can write a letter to the teacher or principal to help achieve a solution.

Talk to your child about the proper use of backpacks and help him or her understand why this and other ergonomic issues are important. A child who is educated early in life on the importance of ergonomics can apply this knowledge later in life -- at home or in the office - and will be happier and healthier as a result.

dancing notes
We Need To Laugh More!
By Rick Allen, DC (and various Internet sources)

" Life is too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

We are a serious nation with serious people who have serious health problems, many of which are related to stress. Laughter relieves stress. Through laughter we cope with our fear and anger, the two emotions that result in stress.

Laughter lifts us up. Life becomes worth living. We experience that vanishing State of Being called, "relaxation". We stress less and enjoy other people more. We become fully present in the moment.

As Groucho Marx put it, "A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast."

Why laugh? How will it help you?
  • It relieves anxiety. One cannot laugh and be afraid simultaneously. It's physically impossible. Laughter also shrinks the source and size of our fears.
  • It decreases isolation. Laughter allows us to bond with other people and ease our loneliness.
  • It reduces aggression and conflict. People laughing are unable to hold each other at swords' length. Some how there is no longer a point, only acceptable differences.
  • It improves our physical well-being. We develop a stronger immune system, reduce levels of stress hormones, create a healthier heart and circulatory system, relax muscles, and feel less pain.
  • Laughter also provides an excellent source of cardiac exercise - especially important for senior citizens or non-ambulatory patients - and triggers a specific breathing pattern that offers significant respiratory benefits.
  • It's contagious. Laughter creates laughter. Allowing laughter to swell into a movement across the land would reduce our growing anger and violence.
  • It improves our mental health. We have less stress, reduced anger and anxiety, increased joy, a more positive, optimistic mood, and a stronger sense of control.
  • It allows us to be creative and solve problems better. Morale and job satisfaction improve. We can work harder but more comfortably. Productivity increases.
  • It's universal. Everybody can laugh. Human beings are born with the gift of laughter. A sense of humor is not necessary to laugh.
  • Above all else, it's fun. It gives us back our playfulness, a characteristic of all mankind.
  • Laughter is a natural, physical process that releases pain, physically and emotionally. It is part of the body's biological drug store. Introduce more laughter in your life and revel in the opportunity to need fewer or no drugs at all, and to revel in the experience of your everyday life.

What's significant about the laughter was not just the fact that it provides internal exercise for a person flat on his or her back - a form of jogging for the innards - but that it creates a mood in which the other positive emotions can be put to work, too.

Norman Cousins, the author of Anatomy of an Illness, took personal responsibility for his treatment regimen upon being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative and potentially fatal connective tissue disease. He formed a partnership between his physicians and himself to beat the odds. By enhancing and mobilizing his body's own natural healing resources, he proved what powerful weapons and augmentative therapy positive emotions and the physical exercise of vigorous laughter can be against stress and disease. His choice of active inclusion of vigorous laughter sessions in his therapy demonstrated the mind-body connection at work to help overcome illness.
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