I was thrilled to read the National Institutes of Health study that found so many benefits to drinking coffee. What are your thoughts on this?
Dr. Michael Murray: My first thought was to chuckle. The impact of many foods on our health is completely individualized. In other words, one person’s food is another person’s poison, and this is certainly the case with coffee. One of the major drawbacks in conventional medical research is that it assumes we are all alike. It’s becoming more and more clear that we aren’t.
So what’s it really like to be a laughter yogi? Why do people need laughter therapy?
Laughter is a sort of safety valve. If you have a good bout of laughter, you put your worries and your problems and your depression on the back burner; you’ve forgotten all about it and walked into a state of sunshine.
What is a typical session like?
My sleep problems started after age 30 and grew worse as I became a mother. I wake in the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. Why do we have a harder time sleeping as we age, and what can I do?
In one of my first yoga classes, my teacher pointed to my elbows. A quick glance in the mirror revealed that my arms were bent at a most unnatural angle—almost backward—in many poses. I discovered that I habitually hyperextended my elbows, forcing the joints to take the strain, rather than the muscles.
Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians and Chinese applied pigment to their nails to convey social status. Today, women visit the nail salon to mark a celebration or to simply retreat from life’s hectic pace. But many devotees of this ancient beauty ritual don’t realize that the chemicals used in the modern-day mani/pedi can be harmful—especially to the nail industry’s largely immigrant female workforce.
We worry. We watch what we eat. We floss our teeth. We work out and walk four miles a day but only after slathering on SPF-60 sunscreen. We practice tai chi, home-brew kombucha, and monitor our cars and skin for strange noises and morphing moles. We watch our children sleep. We stretch. We stare intently into toilets before flushing them.
Kamut, farro, spelt, quinoa, millet, barley, amaranth—this isn’t a magical incantation. Or maybe it is. The words are names for ancient grains, whole grains that have been around for centuries. For centuries, whole was how we ate grain, too. Then we discovered milling.
Milling, or grinding, grain removed the husk. It rendered the grain softer, easier to chew, easier to digest. Milling was originally done by hand, a difficult job that made processed grain expensive. It became a food of the privileged, a status symbol—refined grain for refined people.
Some of the nation's top tea experts offer suggestions for the best teas to sip for a healthier life.
Richard Simmons, the nation’s most revered fitness expert, continues his crusade to encourage people to take control of their fitness destiny.