Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Amuse System

The Amuse System is the body's natural healing system that responds favorably to positive attitudes, thoughts, moods, and emotions (love, hope, optimism, caring, intimacy, joy, laughter, and humor), and negatively to negative attitudes (hate, hopelessness, pessimism, indifference, anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc.). Maintaining a healthy amuse system can improve the quality of your life by boosting your physical health and well-being. 

Dr. Franz Ingelfinger, New England Journal of Medicine, estimated that 85% of all human illnesses are curable by the body's own healing system. LaughterRemedy

"The simple truth is that happy people generally don't get sick." --Bernie Siegel, MD

The importance of activating the body's amuse system goes back to infancy and begins with the mother. In a study on mothers and infants, mothers who actively used humor to cope with stress had fewer respiratory infections - and so did their infants. Reportedly, these mothers also had higher levels of immunoglobulin A, that was passed along to their child through their milk. Studies also showed that mothers with low levels of IgA at the time of their babies' birth, had more illnesses in the first six weeks postpartum. It would appear that laughter is good for both mothers and infants.

While the amuse system is the body's natural coping agent against stress and disease, Gelotophobia afflicts millions of people around the world. The term is derived from two Greek words, gelos meaning "laughter" and phobos meaning "fear", to describe people who have a fear of being laughed "at". 

The cure for Gelotophobia is in maintaining a healthy amuse system, and the key to keeping our amuse system healthy resides in laughing. Research on stress-related hormones and humor ans shown that laughter reduces at least four neuroendocrine hormones associated with our body's stress response, including epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone. This is consistent with research showing that laughter reduces stress hormones. 

Understanding that our neurochemistry affects our body's nervous system and the neural processes such as cortical plasticity, we begin to pay more attention to how our emotions affect our health. In the best-selling book, Anatomy of An Illness, Norman Cousins, with the collaboration of his physician, described how he was able to successfully use his body's own amuse system as a natural healing agent, in order to cure himself of a crippling and irreversible disease watching old Groucho Marx's films! 

This book revolutionized the way Americans think about health and health care, and jump-started the field of mind-body medicine. Hundreds of books followed, including Deepak Chopra's Quantum Healing. While diagnosis of any disease should be left to a qualified medical physician, laughter and the ability to amuse oneself is obviously a critical component in activating the body's own immune and resistance systems to help it more easily and naturally overcome disease and stress. 

For more information on how our thoughts and emotions affect our health, I recommend reading Candice B. Pert's, Molecules of Emotion

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