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The idea of using smiling as a therapy has been around for a while. By the time of King Solomon in the Bible it was know. There is a smile therapy that works to your health.
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance [a smile] …” Proverbs 15:13
When you are in a bad mood, you are in a difficult place to heal; you negatively affect your health. If you move into a better mood, you better situate yourself to heal. We all know the benefits of cheering someone up when they are sick. This is an intuitive knowledge of mankind.
In many cases the mood change toward merry can work to our good like a medicine. And guess what? The science is clear. If you consciously smile, you will in a few minutes lighten your mood. You are moving toward merry and good medicine. This is true even if you have to force the smile.
There is the well known case of Norman Cousins.
He was given a few months to live in 1964. His problem was Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a rare disease of the connective tissues. The doctor, who was his friend, told him that he had a 1 in 500 chance of survival.
But Cousins thought different. A journalist, he was used to research and set himself to find a solution. What he did was rent a hotel room watch funny TV shows and take intravenous vitamin C. Surprise to the doctors, his illness went away. He lived a full life after that.
This would not have surprised Solomon because he knew that a merry heart works like a medicine. Cousins’ funny TV raised his merry heart and his countenance, his smile.
In the DVD The Secret there is a woman who moved past breast cancer into vibrant health. She did not use any of the standard medicine. I do not know if she had heard about Cousins, but she did something similar.
She went on a journey to relieve all the stress in her life. She knew that stress was the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.
In other books I deal with the science on stress and healing. Any thing that brought on stress she walked away from it. What she did to avoid stress and/or more fully de stress was to watch funny movies.
Like Cousins, she moved into a predominantly merry heart, and her continence became happy, the smile. A smile worked like a medicine for her. She laughed her way into better health.
These two incidents are not just isolated incidents. There has actually been scientific research on smile therapy and health.
The U.S. National Center for Biotechnology tells us that smiling increases the immune system. This is part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which is related to the CDC.
They did an experiment about gastrointestinal cancer. This involved surgery and chemotherapy. One group received just surgery and chemo. The second added smile generating therapy.
The first group had an natural immunity ability decrease. That is their immune systems were compromised. In the smile group they had an increase in their immune system function. The smile was working like a medicine by turning on their bodies natural immunity.
The Japanese came up with Smile Sun Therapy and experimented with it in 5 cities. They found many benefits to smiling. Some of them were improvements in depression, anger, and vigor. All of these improvements when they happen are well known health boosters.
If you are sick, smile. Be merry. Do things that make you laugh. It is a too simple to be true therapy that works.
This might be especially good when you do not feel good. You can not put your finger on what is wrong; you just do not feel good. Switch on the smile. Get the stress out. Bring things into your life that make you laugh.
Some people complain that I joke around too much. When I come to do a hospital visit, I try to make people laugh. When people come for an alternative healing, I try to be a funny man. [Yes, sometimes they do not get my humor, but I am trying.]
I am told I need to be serious. I am being serious in humor. I am giving smile therapy.
I remember in seminary going to a funeral and the preacher went on and on and was making the audience cry. Wrong. There will be some tears at the funeral. But pushing that button is wrong.
They need smile therapy for their health. In the depression of the passing some will with a depressed immune system actually get sick. Long time spouses often die within a year of the death. It is time for smile therapy. I always look for some humorous event in the life of the departed one and make that a hinge point in the funeral sermon.
I am doing smile therapy. While some may not appreciate it, the science is on my side in this. When you attend funeral services for a departed one, look for some sweet humor and do smile therapy. It works like a medicine. Give them something happy to remember. Celebrate as best you can.
I went to the grocery and just looked at the people. Almost no one was smiling. [There were some but that was the exception.] I intentionally started smiling at people and got more smiles. I was doing random smile therapy for them and for me too.
It occurred to me that amount of people not smiling is sort of symbolic of the health condition of the community. Why is there so much chronic illness now days? Why are so many people on perceptual medicine? That seems to be parallel to the lack of smiles.
Surely smiling is not everything. So chronic smilers get sick too.
We have become afflicted with a lack of vigor. But as we have become a nation in the main of downcast countenance, the statistical health of the nation has declined. We are as a nation not taking the advantage of that which can be gained from smile therapy.
Why do so many of the qigong masters demand that their disciples smile while doing their exercises or meditation? They know what they are doing. They are prescribing smile therapy, because it works. Thousands of years of qigong have proved it true.
Smile therapy it is too simple to be true, but it is. The science is in.