As a doctor and as an ex-sufferer of an eating disorder I am always interested in any new ways to treat eating disorders.
It is a known fact that eating disorders are disorders of thinking, disorders of control, disorders of coping, disorders of identity and disorders of values and lifestyle. So from this point of view how do you think laughter would affect eating disorder sufferers mind?
Most of us have heard the famous phrase “laughter is the best healer “. And this is true. There are a lot of examples where laughter has helped people to get better and even recover from incurable diseases. One of them is the story of Cathy Goodman who was cured from breast cancer (her story was shown on “Secret”).
I did an experiment with 6 eating disorder sufferers; I just asked them to laugh at least an hour every day. I really made sure that they did it. I personally sent them funny stories and jokes via e-mails and also made them laugh over the phone.
I also shared with them jokes relating to eating disorders. Because I think if you can laugh about something, than that something stops looking like a problem. If the problem is not a problem anymore you will let it go with ease.
My experiment lasted for two months. The result was very inspiring. All 6 people reported a significant improvement in their mental and emotional state. Three of them stated that their urge to binge and purge was much easier to control especially in the second month of laughing. And the rest of people said that they noticed significant improvement in their moods, easier to concentrate on every day task and not on food and weight, was easier to communicate with others regarding their problems and decreased anxiety and guilt level.
So, I personally think that laugh hour should be a regular practice for every eating disorder sufferer.
Other general effects of Laughter are:
Laughter stimulates the interferon level which helps the immune system to fight illness and speeds healing. Also stimulates nearly all immune processes in the body.
Laughter lowers stress hormones level that spasm blood vessels and diminish immune activity. Laughter reduces at least four of neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress response. These are epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone.
Laugh therapy helps with muscle relaxation. When you laugh, the muscles that are not involved in the belly laugh, relaxes. Then, after laughing those muscles involved in the laughter start to relax. So, the action takes place in two stages.
Laugh therapy and humor makes a person “forget” about pains and aches.
Laughter can provide a good heart exercise and also relaxation for the heart muscles. It also helps to keep blood pressure under control.
A good laughter provides lungs with a lot of air which resulting in a cleaning effect, similar to deep breathing.
So, my advice to all anorexics and bulimics – laugh more; find jokes and funny stories, watch comedies and talk to funny people. Who knows, you may will be surprised with how good you feel.
Learn more about eating disorders at http://www.mom-please-help.com
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program which covers different areas of Women Health. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker. http://www.mom-please-help.com
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