resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Laughter: It Just Might Be the Best Medicine for You
By Sharon Puszko, PhD, LMT
We have all heard this saying before, and I am sure we have all experienced the "pick-me-up" a good chuckle provides when we are feeling down. However, did this adage become common simply due to parents trying to calm their children when sick or angry? Or, is there a more primal, subconscious reason that we associate laughter with feeling better? It was not until recently, when I ran into an acquaintance of mine who has always had a rather serious disposition, that I started thinking more deeply about laughter.
I am sure we all know someone like him, the kind of person of whom we say to ourselves, "He/she needs to laugh more." Therefore, I started to wonder what research, if any, has been done on laughter, and what can we learn from it. After all, when was the last time you read or saw a press release about the latest findings from a NSF or NIH sponsored grant on the benefits of laughing? Probably never, since most people are more interested in research pertaining to cancer, tobacco or AIDS, then on laughter.
As it turns out, the science of laughter is still in its infancy, however what we have recently learned about it is fascinating. In fact, just ten years ago, I would not have had much to say other than the following: We know laughter is an evolutionary vocalization passed down from our primate relatives in order to aid in social communication, and it also seems to be contagious. While we have proven the former to be true by studying the behavior and vocalizations of our primate relatives, thanks to modern science we have also proven the latter to be true. In 2006, researchers at University College London conducted a study to determine why observing laughter usually causes someone to laugh in return.
Using MRI images of the brain, they were able to prove the existence of auditory "mirror" neurons; neurons that cause our body to produce a reaction to something we hear. Just as we have visual "mirror" neurons that activate when we see certain things (when we watch traumatic events, our brain responds as if we are experiencing that event ourselves), our auditory mirror neurons trigger our facial muscles to smile in response to hearing laughter. In fact, the more laughter we hear the more signals our neurons fire, causing us to smile and laugh in return. So whomever first coined the phrase, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you," turned out to be absolutely correct!
What about the theory that laughter is the best medicine? While I cannot assure you that laughter can cure all ills, I can say that it does indeed make you feel better. This past fall, a new study was published addressing this very issue. A group of European scientists studied the pain threshold of people before, during and after watching funny programs, such as a stand-up comedian show and episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Friends." The results revealed that people who laughed during these programs (not just listened to them, but actually laughed) had a much higher tolerance for pain after laughing than before, because laughter triggered the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals which protect us from stress and make us feel good; as you well know, the biological reason massage feels so good is because it, too, releases endorphins. Therefore, while laughter may not be the best medicine, it really does make you feel better. Since it is also contagious and innate in primates, I can understand why laughter is considered one of the most primal methods of social bonding.
Now that we have proven that those serious people would indeed feel better if they laughed more, how can we, as massage therapists, incorporate more laughter into our days? I think the answer to that question will vary according to our own personal preferences. Some of us would rather reserve humor, jokes and irony for our personal lives only, and others will feel more comfortable incorporating laughter into both our professional and personal lives. Robert Provine authored a book on the science of laughter and in it suggests creating a "library" of humor. Start a collection of your favorite funny materials (books, comics, magazine, movies, TV shows, toys, etc), and make them easily accessible in your home or workplace. If you train yourself to reach for them when you start to feel angry or sad, you will notice those negative feelings diminish faster. This "library" is also a great conversation starter for parties and social gatherings, since everyone likes to laugh! Making some of these materials available to clients might help some of them relax more quickly before a session and feel more comfortable. If you choose to share this library with others, just make sure you have materials that represent a variety of humor, since we all find different things funny.
Fortunately, there is a plethora of information available on the internet and in magazines on how to incorporate laughter into your life; I have started listening to funny books and programs on CD while driving, and I can tell you that getting stuck in traffic no longer bothers me the way it used to! In closing, I’d like to remind the reader that just like massage, laughter does not require anything other than your own body in order to make yourself and someone else feel good, so try to do it as often as you can!
Sharon Puszko is the owner/director/educator for Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute. She may be contacted at
or through her Web site: www.daybreak-massage.com.
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