“A good book is good medicine” was a recent headline for the syndicated medical column “The Doctor Game.” The Canadian doctor who wrote the article said: “The use of books and other reading material to treat illness” is what is called “bibliotherapy.” Is it effective? The column tells of several people who have definitely been aided more by good reading than by many pills.
To one of his own patients, the doctor recommended:
“You’ve been complaining of pain, fatigue and tension for the last 10 years. But you’re still breathing. Different doctors have X-rayed you from head to toe without finding anything wrong. You’ve had every laboratory test in the books. You have enough drugs in the house to open a pharmacy. Why don’t you toss them all out, get a library card and read some good books?”
Late to Bed?
Individuals vary, but those who customarily go to bed at a late hour may be impairing their health. According to New Orleans Public Service Inc., they may encounter such troubles as visual strain, hearing impairment, greater irritability and mental depression. Last, but not least, complete collapse may be experienced. An old saying is, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Well, that practice may at least make you healthier or help to preserve the health you now enjoy.
Born to Dance?
“Humans have a unique ability to coordinate their motor movements to an external auditory stimulus, as in music-induced foot tapping or dancing,” says a report published by researchers from the universities of York, England, and Jyväskylä, Finland.
The researchers found that even before infants learned to speak, they responded to the rhythm of music and spontaneously tried to move in time with the beat. The more successful their attempts, the longer they smiled. This suggests that the sense of rhythm and a desire to move with music are not something we pick up but something that comes naturally.
Break dancing has been hailed by The New York Times as the greatest cultural revolution in the western hemisphere since the invention of the hula hoop,” reports The German Tribune.
In Germany, it has come into its own in railway stations’ concourses, pedestrian areas and shopping centers. Arising from the ghettos of New York nearly ten years ago, break dancing is a cross between gymnastics, karate and tumbling.
While there are many variations, the usual routine is for the dancer to spin on his arms, shoulders, head or back to the accompaniment of pulsating music or to a disc jockey’s rap. Girls are crazy about good dancers, says the report. But 15-year-old break dancer Guido from Hamburg adds that it will be all over ‘once any idiot can do it.’ “I’d give break dancing another three months.
Breakdancing may be aptly named, considering the number of injuries resulting from the current fad. Doctors warn that it can easily push the body beyond its endurance and break bones, tear ligaments or cause more serious injuries. One 25-year-old man broke his neck after attempting a difficult stunt and was left a quadriplegic. Others have broken their arms while trying to support their body weight on one hand. Chiropractors also warn that it can cause severe spinal damage. Those who are out of shape or lack flexibility due to age are particularly prone to severe injury, say the doctors.
More Happiness in Giving
“Money makes you happy—if you give it away,” reads a headline in The Globe and Mail of Canada. Although most people surveyed predicted that spending on themselves would make them happier, those who used their money to help others—regardless of the amount spent—actually reported greater happiness. “Wealth is not a predictor of happiness, study after study has shown,” says the newspaper. “Once people have enough money to meet their basic needs, getting more of it doesn’t give them much of a boost.”
Conflict Between Lions and Humans
As the human population in Africa increases, wildlife habitat decreases, resulting in “frequent and often violent contact,” says the Cape Town journal Africa Geographic. Lions, in particular, “appear to have identified humans as prey.” In Tanzania, for example, lions have killed at least 70 people each year since 1990. In some cases, reports the journal, lion prides are even “specialising in humans, seizing people from the front porches of huts and tearing through thatched roofs and loose mud walls.”