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Healthy Pleasures.


The flood gates are open. Publishers and their authors are pouring out statistics, research, and considered opinions to confirm something that even the wisest of ancients knew, that happiness and joy are partners in good health.

Ornstein and Sobel endeavor to provide a working model of healthful pleasures. One author is a brain resercher; the other a psychologist. Between them there is the conviction that physiology and psychology are linked in affecting the immune system.

Some of the evidence mustered to prove their thesis begins at birth. Infants, especially premature babies, double their weight gain, thrive sooner, and show lasting improvement in mental and physical abilities when they are given brief, daily massages.

They marshal more proof to show that many people suffer from lack of light with symptoms of depression, moodiness, lethargy, and declining sex drive.

Should you find yourself in a hospital, they advise, try to manage a cheerful scene from your bed. A view of a wooded area has speeded patients' recovery, alleviated the need for large doses of pain medication, and contributed immeasurably to healing, their statistics note.

The value of music piped into an operating room of a hospital, the authors write, can be measured by increased efficiency and reduced tension among the medical staff. The patient has been known to respond favorably, if not consciously, to the mood music.

Healthy Pleasures makes a strong case for modern aromatherapy, the technique of using fragrances to reduce stress, blood pressure, rapid pulse, and apprehension. Their favorite aroma seems to be spiced-apple.

Among the consuming passions, advocated by the authors, is the use of chili peppers whose "hot" effects are said to boost metabolic rates (burning calories) and to prevent blood clots.

The cure-all, relaxation, is taken to task in the book. Not everyone finds "relaxing" restful, they say. For many anxious people the practice of meditation and deep muscle relaxation only makes them more tense. For some people, activity and play could be more beneficial.

Indulge yourself in small daily pleasures, the authors advocate. A hug from a child, or a compliment either given or received, can become a vital part of pursuing happiness.

Savor your healthful feelings. Feel healthy, think of yourself as a healthy person, the Ornstein-Sobel prescription reads, and you will achieve the healthful state faster. It's the old adage, "every day in every way, I'm getting better and better." When the French Dr. Coue urged that catechism, he also advocated looking at oneself in the mirror while chanting.

No one until now has elevated "shopping" as a healthful pursuit. Healthy Pleasures compares it to the essential activities of primitive humans: they contend it is the modern-day version of hunting and gathering behaviors that sustained our early ancestors. Recreational shopping, as compared to fighting for bargains, can dispel boredom, quell loneliness, lift spirits, and provide an opportunity to live out fantasies.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Vegetus Publications
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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