You Have Got to Laugh (and Love) a Little

Our long-time Photo-remedy readers might recall that the mission of this blog is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other ailments to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from whatever ails them.

When we first started, I was primarily relying on a hunch that photography and other creative pursuits could play important roles in pain management. Yes, I had seen some research that validated this notion. But, for the most part, it was little more than a hypothesis that matched up with personal experience.

I am happy to report that this blog has continually put us in touch with an increasing amount of research that validates our suspicions. The more we research the subject, the more convinced we are that photo-remedy is a viable, well-supported form of alternative medicine.

Ashley Boynes-Shuck, in her Wellness With a Side of Life, Please blog, recently did a great job of highlighting research demonstrating that positive thoughts and emotions (which are often stimulated through taking, editing, and viewing photography) can rewire our immune systems to stimulate the release of endorphins.  Endorphins are analgesia-producing receptors located in your brain, spinal cord, and other nerve endings. Endorphins are not a single molecule, but actually come in several forms, and can be anywhere from eighteen to five hundred times as powerful as any man-made analgesics.

Emmett William Gilstrap

Boynes-Shuck even sites research that strongly indicates that love is more than ‘a many splendored thing.‘ Apparently, even just the thought of love and imagining times when you felt the related euphoria can be a powerful remedy.

Laughter (which also produces endorphins) may not be the absolute best medicine, but the Mayo Clinic has reported it can be a darn good one. In a recent article, Mayo indicated some of the short- and long-term benefits of laughter are that it can:

  • Activate and relieve your stress response.
  • Soothe tension.
  • Improve your immune system.
  • Relieve pain.
  • Increase personal satisfaction.

Here at photo-remedy, we will continue to encourage you to ‘fight with a smile.’ Based on the research, however, don’t be afraid to mix in an ample supply of love and laughter along the way.

- Greg

Note: This posting features a few of the endorphin-releasing photos we have recently taken and experienced. :-)

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