Remember the last time you had a good laugh? How about that feeling of amusement you get when you anticipate witnessing something
funny? Mirth—otherwise known as merriment and glee—has been the recent subject of research. While still in its infancy, some of the studies’ early results might surprise you.
John Chamness, a licensed massage therapist at NorthShore’s
Integrative Medicine program lists some of the recent findings behind mirth. After watching funny movies, participants experienced the following health benefits:
Are these the effects of the state of mirth, or the laughter that is often a result? Regardless, you don't have to wait for something funny to enjoy a laugh; laughter can be prolonged as a deliberate behavior.
In Laughter Yoga—a social movement that began in India and is catching on here—participants alternate 45 – 60 seconds of deliberate, sustained laughter with deep breathing and brief stretching for a total of 30 minutes. After seven sessions over three weeks,
Laughter Yoga participants had significantly lowered their blood pressure.
During sustained laughter (through Laughter Yoga or not), the diaphragm increases from working an average of 12 times per minute during regular breathing to 300 forceful times per minute. Over 20 minutes of sustained laughter accounts for 6,000 contractions.
That’s quite a workout!
So, what’s the key take away? Be serious in your pursuit of health, but don't always pursue health with seriousness.
What makes you laugh? Have you ever participated in a Laughter Yoga session?
Summer has arrived. Ice cold glasses of lemonade and cookouts are among the many perks of the warmer weather. But don’t forget to add the
delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs in season during the summer to that list. Sure, it’s easy to find produce at your local grocery store, but when you grow it yourself, you reap both the nutritional and physical benefits of your harvest.
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, Integrative and Family Medicine at NorthShore, shares some of the benefits gardening can have on your overall
What is your favorite fruit, vegetable or herb to grow in the summertime?
To see more on the health benefits of gardening, check out this video from Lake County's recent community gardening event, Dig Day.
Not all health conditions need to be treated with prescription or over-the-counter medications. In fact, in some cases,
herbal remedies and supplements can help relieve symptoms and improve health.
While there is no “magic” supplement or “quick fix,” it is important to discuss any new treatment method (herbal or not) with your physician. This will ensure that no unwanted side effects or drug interactions will occur. To learn more about herbs and supplements,
Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, Director of NorthShore’s Integrative Medicine program, offers the following herbal alternatives:
Do you use herbal remedies to help relieve common health concerns? What works for you?
Dim lighting, soothing music and invigorating scents can all be recipes for relaxation. And, in our busy lives, it’s
often nice to have some downtime to focus on relaxation and rejuvenation of both the mind and body.
Massage therapy has been around for centuries and can be used for various wellness purposes. Massage therapy comes in many forms – including shiatsu, contemporary western massage, Swedish massage and tissue release.
Charlotte Walker, a massage therapist in NorthShore’s Integrative Medicine program, identifies some of the potential health benefits of massage therapy:
As is the case with any alternative treatment option you may be undergoing, it is important to inform your physician about this treatment, especially if you are being treated for any specific health conditions.
Have you ever gotten a massage? How often do you go?
Conception difficulties and infertility aren't as uncommon as one might think; the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimate that approximately 10 percent of women between the ages of 15-44 in the United States have difficulty getting or staying pregnant.
There are many fertility treatment options available, including conventional biomedical treatments, such as
fertility medications, artificial insemination and
in vitro fertilization, and traditional methods, like Chinese herbal medicine and
acupuncture. Many couples have found great results with a combination of treatments.
Ultimately, the right choice is the one that works. While there is no preferred method for everyone, in many cases, the age-old treatment of acupuncture has been shown to help enhance fertility and increase a woman’s chances of conceiving.
Nicole Hohmann, Acupuncturist with NorthShore's Integrative Medicine Program, shares some of the health benefits of fertility
Has acupuncture worked for you or someone you know?
There are many supplements on the market to help treat arthritis pain—some more widely accepted and used than others. One
of the more common supplements, glucosamine, has become a popular treatment option, but has also been under some debate about its effectiveness.
Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, Director of the Integrative Medicine program, says that clinically she has seen that glucosamine and chondroitin with MSM has been helpful for
treating arthritic pain. However, she also recommends that if you have concerns you can go off of it. If your arthritis pain comes back and you haven’t done anything differently, you can always go back on it. It can have interactions with medications like
the blood thinner, warfarin, so be sure to check with your doctor whether you may safely take this supplement.
She also provides some tips and recommendations for alternative treatment methods of mild-to- moderate arthritis:
What methods do you employ to reduce pain? Have you seen a connection between your lifestyle (diet, sleep and stress levels) with your pain?