A little more than one year ago, I posted a request on Laughter Yoga ProZone, asking that special prayers be asked for my cousin who had just been diagnosed with a very rare cancer. The LY community did not disappoint and prayers for my cousin, Sara, started pouring in from all over the world. I forwarded all of them on to my cousin who was very touched and comforted by the love and kindness of total strangers.
My old friend, John from Taiwan, went even one step further, he printed her photo for each laughter club member to hold as the entire group was videotaped praying for Sara. The thoughtfulness, love and compassion by total strangers greatly impressed and strengthened her. For about six months after her intensive treatment, the cancer was held at bay. A few weeks ago, I received a call from Sara; the cancer, now untreatable, had metastasized to her lungs and was encroaching on her heart. Her question to me, “Is there anything you can do to help me?”
What words of comfort and encouragement can be said to a 36 year-old woman with a super rare and highly aggressive cancer? I honestly did not know. My “help”, as many of you know, comes in the form of food and she did want to know what would be the best for her to eat. For sure, there is no good reason to continue feeding cancer cells if that can be helped and I was more than ready to help her with that. But what about increasing the number of natural killer cancer cells within the body – those cells (lymphocytes) that literally attack and kill cancer on the spot, how could they be increased? Yes, you guessed it - the other arm of defense, laughter!
The ONLY way to increase the number of natural killer cancer cells is by increasing the amount of lymphatic fluid passing through the lymph nodes where they are produced. Our lymphatic system depends on inertia to move and normally “beats” about 2-3 times per minute; however, that speed can be increased up to 15 times with exercise, deep breathing or LAUGHTER. Considering the many healing benefits of laughter, I decided to invite a few ladies over for a “Laughter Yoga Healing Circle” while she was with me. Prior to the session,
I informed them about my cousin’s diagnosis and suggested that after our final meditation, we do a “hands-on healing” if they were okay with that. All agreed. Since the cancer had now metastasized to her lungs, I wasn’t sure how she would handle laughter and told her before anyone arrived that if she felt winded or lightheaded to just pull back. At one point, she did become very short of breath, but after getting her breath, continued on with us. Gibberish was her favorite exercise . . . but the “hands-on healing” at the end was by far the frosting on the cake.
With the lights dimmed and “Amazing Grace” softly playing in the background, I asked Sara if she would mind if we placed our hands on her. Lying on her back on the floor with six women surrounding her, twelve hands gently touched and held her body for many minutes. There was no boohooing, but no eyes were dry as the music ended. It was a beautiful, healing and reflective time. Sara’s comment to me, “You cannot even imagine how wonderful it felt to have all those hands on me.” Afterward, sitting on the floor with her, choking back tears, she spoke about how impressed her children were by the prayers offered by John and all the others for a total stranger. As a result, her three children insist that daily prayers also be directed toward those in the world they don’t know who need a special prayer. Dr. K may say we laugh for no reason; I think not. Love and Prayers to all of you.