Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Well, my ears pricked up when that advert came on Spotify this morning. Wow are they talking about Laughter Clubs?!? Hahaha. Nope. A Panadol advert.
The “More Laughs. Less Pain” campaign sees the brand sponsoring comedy streaming platform NextUp, offering three months of free content including 200 on-demand programmes across the comedy spectrum.
Panadol is also supporting the Live Comedy Association and its #SaveLiveComedy initiative, to “help the UK stand-up scene thrive beyond COVID-19 and help to boost consumers’ moods for the long-term”.
To access NextUp’s premium service, shoppers will need to sign up for free on nextupcomedy.com/Panadol.
The campaign will be supported by a widespread marketing and digital campaign, including out-of-home experiences and online advertising “encouraging consumers to trade-up to Panadol”.
Jasmine Walton, senior brand manager for Panadol, said: “Our research has shown that in 2020, 38% of Brits cannot recall a time when they have laughed out loud.
“It is recognised that laughter can help to increase our pain tolerance, couple this with our commitment to relieve people’s pain, meant we were keen to get Britain laughing again.
“We hope that the campaign will not only see laughter levels increase amongst consumers but will also highlight Panadol’s leading role in pain relief”.
Well, I have to say my heart slightly sank. I'm not entirely convinced that the campaign is much to do with getting people laughing, and more a great marketing spin, but I'm hopeful that some try it without taking the meds and see how much it can do for them. Of course, for clarity, I'd never suggest anyone not take medication that they've been prescribed or need to have.
That said, I do like the fact they're highlighting the use of laughter as helping with pain. And thought I'd use my irritation as a springboard to discuss that a little.
Laughter helps chronic pain shows Swiss study. Whilst in the study, it does state laughter should be real not fake laughter, I would suggest that one of the joys of Laughter Clubs is that within a group of people, volunteered laughter rapidly becomes real and contagious laughter.
This study, reported on by the BBC stated "Tittering and giggling did not elicit any physiological effect; only a good guffaw did the job." which is also fabulous to hear as we talk regularly about belly laughter, laughter from deep inside being so beneficial - and another reason why Laughter Clubs are so helpful - some people are shier and for some, laughing with a guffaw isn't deemed OK in public...
Laughter was equated with pain meds here: "In a study of 35 patients in a rehabilitation hospital, 74% agreed with the statement, "Sometimes laughing works as well as a pain pill." These patients had a broad range of conditions, such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, arthritis, limb amputations, and other neurological or musculoskeletal disorders." (1)
Norman Cousins' experience was recounted to us when we trained in Laughter Yoga leading. For an insight there have a read:
In 1964, Norman Cousins was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a degenerative disease causing the breakdown of collagen. The disorder caused constant pain and suffering and was accompanied with a poor prognosis of only a few months to live. Cousins served as an Adjunct Professor at University of California–Los Angeles, where he conducted research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long believed were the keys to success in resisting and fighting illness. He often expressed his belief that, since negative emotions lead to negative physiology, then positive emotion, such as humor, can lead to positive physiology. As examples, chronic stress persistently elevates levels of stress hormones, including epinephrine and cortisol. Chronic stress also increases the susceptibility to blood clots. Together, these physiological responses to stress increase the risk for cardiovascular and other diseases (2). Importantly, the positive emotions of humor and laughter decrease the risk for stress-related diseases (3).
With his strong beliefs in the power of human emotions and his dire prognosis, Cousins decided to take his treatment into his own hands. He convinced his physicians to prescribe an intravenous dose of vitamin C that was well above the normal therapeutic level, and, as an adjunct to this therapy, he watched humorous movies and television shows to induce laughter as a consistent part of his treatment. Mirthful laughter markedly reduced his pain and relieved stress. “10 minutes of laughter gave me 2 hours of pain free sleep,” Cousins said, “laughter produced a natural body anesthesia.” Cousins’ humor-induced treatment saved his life and allowed him to live and prosper for nearly 25 additional years. Cousins and his remarkable results are a testament to the positive psychophysiological impact created by the emotions of humor and mirthful laughter and have been documented in a book he authored, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient (4)."
For the article I discovered including the above information - and lots more, that's here.
One thing worth noting is that Norman's laughter was 10 minutes that gave 2 hours of pain free sleep. Laughter, to get the scientifically proven health benefits, should be sustained. We should be laughing daily for 10-15 minutes. Natural laughter lasts for 3-4 seconds at a time, and we should be laughing, heartily for longer. Relying also on comedy clubs means that you have to be there. Introducing laughter as an exercise into your life means you do it unconditionally. I laugh every time my shower goes on cold, having trained myself to do it over a period of around a month. To the point that it's like a Pavlovian response and being out in the hail recently (nothing quite like Yorkshire May weather!) elicited the same response and I was laughing away walking the dogs. Our poor lurcher was less amused and desperate to get back inside, bless her.
I've for a long time been inspired by Patch Adams, immortalised in a film of the same name starring Robin Williams. For a talk with the real Patch Adams, have a watch of this. It's something I often think I should start each day with. And never do. But I do laugh daily now and feel the benefit.
I want to blog on my experiences of laughing regularly since January 2021 and plan to share other's experiences, including those I've trained with and those I've regularly laughed with as I feel there's a need for laughing now, and just want to share my feelings on how it's been for me and others. Laughing regularly could be with me, with other Laughter Yoga leaders, as a regular commitment alone, with the fabulous people I trained with, with friends or however you like. I reckon laughter regularly has something really special going for it. It's free, it's available for us all and I certainly feel we all could benefit from it right now.
New blog on that coming soon. But for now, have a watch of Patch above.
And so to end, and I want to go back to where I started, as I like going in a circle - on walks, I see it happen in life, I love to observe the way it's all a cycle out there in nature...
"Our research has shown that in 2020, 38% of Brits cannot recall a time when they have laughed out loud."
If you're there with the 38%, come and laugh with me. Details of the sessions are here. Or laugh with someone else, but I invite you to dive in and explore your relationship with laughter. It might be the best thing you've ever done. And, as I say to my daughter, "if it's awful it should at least make a funny story." What's to lose?
With love, and laughter,
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley Homeopath
Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition