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BioPsy Webzine Vol 3, Number 3, June 1998

copyright 1998 Futurehealth Inc. Best viewed maximized.

If you don't want to receive further issues of this cyberzine/journal, reply with   >>cancel BioPsy<< in the subject head.


editors brief note
front of webzine matters
1) Futurehealth Meeting Updates: 
can you afford us?
1998 ADD meeting
1999 Optimal Functioning Meeting
1999 Winter Conference on Brain Function, Modification & Training Neurofeedback
Barry Sterman Topometric EEG Courses (9/98 Austin, 10/98 NJ, 2/99 Palm Springs
Joel & Judith Lubar Neurofeedback Course 10/98 NJ
2) the Kall, Kamiya, Schwartz Neurofeedback book; an update.
3) Procomp Biograph sales through the roof. We’ve taken some creative approaches to
packaging and pricing Thought Technology’s Procomp Biograph which have sent sales
through the roof. Call us for details if you are thinking of getting one.
4)Ghost in the Box: Review and announcement of Web shareware access by John Perry
6)Book Review: Why Things Bite Back; Technology & the Revenge of Unintended
Consequences, by Edward Tenner review by Rob Kall
7)Mumbai: Home of Laughter Clubs and World Laughter Day
By Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, The Joyologist and Dr. Madan Kataria
How to Start a Laughter Club in Your Area
8) Behavioral Health Benefits Plummet:
    Behavioral healthcare benefit costs have been slashed 670 percent more than general healthcare benefit costs over the past
   10 years (1988-1997), according to a new study by the Hay Group, an actuarial and benefits consulting firm in Wash., DC.
9) Cool website for doing a search to find good prices on used books, like Barbara Brown’s books on biofeedback

Editor’s Brief Note.

This issue is loaded with interesting writings ranging from biofeedback to Ideonomy to Laughter. Each writer is quite a special person, and it is well worth your time to not only read their articles but also check out their websites and writings.

Front of webzine:

Feel free to forward this intact, entire webzine to anyone you feel might be interested in seeing it.

Posting to websites, listserves or BBSs is also permitted as long as the entire contents are posted.

Editorial material wanted: if you've written something of interest to fellow travelers, we'd like to have an opportunity to evaluate it for our publication, including reprints of already published material.. Announcements about meetings and workshops will also be considered  for inclusion.

Past issues of BioPsy are available at FUTUREHEALTH's and Rob Kall's Website: http://www.futurehealth.org

Published and Edited by Rob Kall, M.Ed., president, FUTUREHEALTH Inc, biofeedback, neurofeedback and Stress Management tool supplier founder and organizer of the Futurehealth Meetings.

Rob Kall, M.Ed.
211 N. Sycamore, Newtown, PA 18940, 215-504-1700 fax 215-860-5374
www.futurehealth.org     rob@futurehealth.org

1) Meeting Updates:

Can you afford us? Probably. We’ve set a policy that we do not want to prevent someone from coming because of our meeting fees. Call us if this is a problem.

1st National ADD Advanced Meeting (Attention Difference & Directions)

Gifts, Alternative & Mainstream Approaches & the Neurobehavioral Continuum:  for professionals, focusing on ADD/ADHD, Autism, Tourettes and Peak Performance, assessment, treatment, empowerment, professional, practice management & scientific topics Nov 13-15, 1998, Palm Springs, CA, Rooms $89 1 day pre-conference Foundations Course, Nov 12 Thom Hartmann Keynote Speaker; author:ADD A Different Perspective; Hunters in a Farmer’s World

organized by Rob Kall
Call for Proposals for Brief Presentation, Workshops, Poster sessions
-single track main lectures, -poster sessions --2 and 4 hour in-depth workshops
-99% clinicians and researchers as attendees; -A community of professionals
-relaxed, casual atmosphere-- casual dress code -beautiful, fun location
-plenty of free time, yet concentrated information.
-Plenary sessions in morning and evening. Afernoons free or take optional workshops
-research issues, challenges, opportunities -panel discussions
-proceedings, with abstracts -2 & 4 hour workshops for professionals
Confirmed Speakers:
Thom Hartmann, Lynn Weiss, Lynda Thompson Ph.D. (The ADD Book,) Sue Sussman, Mary Jo Sabo,Ph.D. Cliff Corman,M.D., Eric Kohner (Limitbusters) Carla Nelson, Joel Lubar, Ph.D., Michael Linden, Ph.D., Judith Lubar, Rob Kall, Peter Rosenfeld,
Tentative but not confirmed people who’ve expressed interest/willingness in participating:
Ned Hallowell, Kate Kelly,  Kathleen Nadeau, Sari Solden
Topics to Include:
-research: basic, clinical, issues
-assessment: brain imaging, psychophysiologic, psychometric, computerized, interviewing,
-diagnostic criteria
-Populations: ADD/ADHD: child, adult, women, couples, comorbidities; autism. tourrettes,
-neurobehavioral continua & comorbidities,
-professional topics: practice management/development, insurance, ethics, managed care,
multidisciplinary approaches, and facilities networking/integration,
referral development, advocacy, legal issues
Interventions: treatment, medications, nutrition, exercise, education, therapies,
-optimal functioning coaching, techniques, strategies
-Complementary/alternative approaches
-Positive models: gifts of ADD/HD, creativity, non-pathological models, self-esteem

The vision:
A meeting where professionals-- leaders in the field can gather to share their newest ideas, approaches, techniques, research findings, where practicing clinicians can listen in and hear the most cutting edge information, network, connect and discover how to get more heart, passion and joy out of their work.

Registration Fees:

FUTUREHEALTH Inc, 211 N. Sycamore, Newtown, PA 18940, 215-504-1700 fax 215-860-5374


1999 Optimal Functioning Meeting Feb 3-5 Palm Springs

wellness, peak performance, creativity, positive experience, happiness, enhancing functioning at

work, athletics, in relationships, school, play, fun, etc.

Call for speakers and poster sessions.


1999 Winter Conference on Brain Function, Modification & Training Neurofeedback Meeting

Feb 5-9, Palm Springs

Call for speakers and poster sessions.

Partial Speaker listing (over 60 expected)

Valdeane Brown, Bernie Brucker, Patricia Carrington, Tom Collura, Jay Gunkelman, Thom Hartmann, Cory Hammond, Mike Hutchison, Rob Kall, Joel F. Lubar, Judith O. Lubar, Linda Mason, S.Louise Norris, Len Ochs, Siegfried Othmer, Susan F. Othmer, Karl Pribram, Peter Rosenfeld, Carole Schneider, Barry Sterman, Paul Swingle, Bob Thatcher Anna Wise

a few recent endorsements of the largest, first, longest running neurofeedback meeting on earth.

 The FutureHealth Conference continues to be the premier event in the field of NF Where else can you talk to and listen to the leading researchers and practitioners in neurofeedback? The atmosphere is collegial, respectful and it's fun! If you only go to one conference this year, this is the one to go to. Valdeane Brown

Rob historically sets the standard for EEG Biofeedback Conferences.  Lynda Kirk, President SSNR (Society for the Study of Neuronal Regulation)

A spectacular meeting of great minds with the courage to be on the cutting Edge.   Nancy White

Winter Brain Meeting opens the door for all of us to share our experiences and findings in a safe, nurturing environment.  Mary Jo Sabo,. Enrico Fermi School, Yonkers, NY

I think the Futurehealth meeting is the best of the neurotherapy/neurofeedback/neurodiagnostics meetings. I think this not only because it is focussed on neuromatters, but further, because its organizer manages to get the best people heavily involved. Peter Rosenfeld, Northwestern, Univ., AAPB Past President, Neurofeedback pioneer

The premier meeting in the entire area of EEG BF ... an outstanding opportunity for in-depth interaction with the experts in the field.            Joel Lubar, AAPB (Association for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback) Past President, Neurofeedback pioneer, professor, University of TN

To keep things brief in this webzine we’ll leave out the pricing. But if you register early you can save a lot. call, fax, write, e-mail, or check our website for pricing. You can also register for combinations of the Winter brain and Optimal Functioning course.

 Joel & Judith Lubar Neurofeedback Course (10/98 NJ, 2/99 Palm Springs)

Evaluation, Applications & Protocols in ADD/HD, Depression, Anxiety, closed head injury other co-morbid disorders and Optimal Functioning

2 day Comprehensive Neurofeedback Course Feb. 3, 4, and Phila./Princeton area October 11,12 1998


 2) the Kall, Kamiya, Schwartz Neurofeedback book; an update.

There are only two chapters left to come in, and their authors say they should be in momentarily. We’ve been desk-top publishing the chapters so the book will definitely be out this summer. It is a treasure-trove of data, techniques, theory, history and practice.

3) Procomp Biograph sales through the roof. We’ve taken some creative approaches to packaging and pricing Thought Technology’s Procomp Biograph which have sent sales through the roof. Call us for details if you are thinking of getting one.

We basically make a price-product package that is irresistible, because we give you free training and tech-support.

4) Ghost in the Box: Review and announcement of Web shareware access by John Perry

(Editor’s note: John, semi-retired and living in Key West, serves as a wonderful example of how a single individual can make a difference and give back to his community. He deserves our thanks and appreciation.)

I'm pleased to report that we have now posted all 140 pages of Shellenberger and Green's book, "From The Ghost in the Box to Successful Biofeedback Therapy", on the website. The full address is: http://www.incontinet.com/ghost.htm which will take you to the several chapters, as follows: ghost0.htm (19K) ghost1.htm (34K) ghost2.htm (111K + 19K graphic) ghost3.htm (10K) ghost4.htm (86K) ghost5.htm (51K) ghost6.htm (27K) ghost7.htm (66K)

As an added incentive, I've written and posted a critique of a current article that violates most of the points made by Ghost in 1986. Blanchard et al., heavily critiqued in the book, continue to search for "specific effects" of biofeedback, in spite of what they should have learned from Ghost.

My critique is located at http://www.incontinet.com/blanchard.htm.

George von Hilsheimer called it "Masterly application. Thank you. A plus!!!" on the psyphy list. But don't take George's word for it -- check it out yourself!      (BioPsy Editor Rob Kall thinks it’s a great critique too.)

For those who are new to the controversy, Ghost takes the position that -- unlike drugs -- there is no "active ingredient" inside the biofeedback machine that "causes" any change in the patient. The biofeedback device is better compared with a mirror (which shows you how effective you are at wiggling your ears), or to a stopwatch (which shows you how effective you are at pacing yourself around the track).

GHOST should be required reading for all physical therapists, since it explains how different biofeedback instruments are from the very similar-looking devices like electrical stimulators that they use every day.

The electrical stimulator really does have a "ghost", or "agent" inside; it does something (often, not much) to your body even if you are asleep! The biofeedback device, on the other hand, doesn't "do" anything to you; it simply shows you what you are doing to yourself, and (by quantification), precisely how much you are doing it. [For example, how tightly you are holding your pelvic muscles, even when you try to relax them.]

GHOST differentiates between "training results" and "symptom results". The former refers to whether or not the patient was able to relax the muscles or warm the fingers, for example; the latter refers to the change in headache frequency or urinary leakage. The connection is that *unless* there is a change in the muscles or circulation, we should not EXPECT a change in the symptoms.

Most drugs (and e-stim) do not require that we look first for training effects; they release their active ingredients into the bloodstream at a uniform rate, regardless of any action on the part of the patient. So we can study the effects of "aspirin" on "headaches" directly, without doing bloodwork to verify that the aspirin really did get into circulation.

Of course we can readily imagine a drug testing situation where it is not possible to assume that there was a "treatment effect"; for example, a drug that had such noxious side effects that many subjects just refused to take all the prescribed pills. In that case, we would want to verify that XX mg. of the drug actually got into the bloodstream before deciding if the drug kills cancer cells, for example.

Biofeedback is even more extreme. The biofeedback device is an aid to learning -- in this case, learning to control an internal biological process. Not every person learns at the same rate. If you offer a fixed number of training sessions, some will and some will not learn the skill. [I once took a five-day course in sailing; all I can say is that anyone who loaned me their sailboat on the basis of five days training would be a fool, even though I have a certificate showing that I've been "trained" to sail.]

How many lessons does it take to become an "expert" skier? A 100-wpm typist? A graphic artist? A computer wiz? If you appreciate these analogies, you can understand that any biofeedback research that offers a small, fixed number of training sessions is doomed to failure. But see http://www.incontinet.com/blanchard.htm and http://www.incontinet.com/burns.htm for examples of research that still doesn't understand this basic point.

Blanchard got trivial changes in finger temperature, and concluded it didn't effect headaches; Burns got tiny changes in pelvic muscle strength, and concluded biofeedback didn't help incontinence. Both researchers made fundamental errors, according to THE GHOST.

The Ghost is being published as shareware. If you read the book, and allow it to influence your thinking, you are asked to "register" your copy and pay the authors the sum of $5. That's a bargain, since thousands of copies were sold in late 1980s and early 1990s for $9.95! And the electronic version can be searched instantly for key words, using your web browser's "find in page"  function. Plus you can cut and paste exerts in letters to your friends and colleagues.

IncontiNet website receives nothing from the distribution of The Ghost, except for your good will and thanks. It is our goal to continue to be the world's largest source of (free) information about the EMG biofeedback treatment of urinary and fecal incontinence and other pelvic muscle disorders. Last month visitors downloaded over 45 Megabytes of information -- EVERY DAY! For the month we topped One Gigabyte! That's how we know you appreciate our efforts.

John D. Perry, PhD, Webmaster, IncontiNet, http://www.incontinet.com



(Patrick is a brilliant, eccentric, unique fellow I met in the Compuserve Mind Body Sciences Forum. His Ideonomy model is discussed below,with insturctions on how to check it out further. We will occasionally feature other writings of Patrick, who is a genius at ceating thought provoking lists and new ways of thinking about things.)

The large site which Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is creating on ideonomy - which is the pure and applied science of ideas, and whose closest sister might seem cognitive science but really is mathematics - is now apparently in good order and accessible to any and all interested parties, at { http://ego.mit.edu:8001/ }; at some point this will be changed to { http://ideonomy.mit.edu/ }.

Eventually this site will be one to two orders of magnitude larger than it is now, but it is already substantial, albeit 'specialized': only certain parts, methods, materials, and results of ideonomy are featured as yet. Over the next two years this inventory will become much more complete.

Later this year site visitors will be invited to collaborate at this site

in the creation, discussion, and use of ideonomy. As it happens, ideonomy is almost an ideal tool for the proper development of the whole of the Internet in the future. Perhaps the site will spark other persons to explore this  possibility.

One 214-page part of my book on the subject, "Ideonomy: Introduction,

Foundation, and Applications of the Science of Ideas", is entirely available on the site; it is titled "What Ideonomy Can Do". It is not typical of the rest of the book, but it can serve as guide to some of the 234 subdivisions of ideonomy.

Also in the site, and apt to be of particular interest, is the chapter "Sources and Examples of Beauty". This discusses the results of the application of the statistical method of nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) to the description of the universal mental space of Beauty.

Many other maps of "idea spaces" produced by NMDS are available in the site section "Some NMS maps".

Any reactions to the site, its materials, or its subject would be of    considerable interest to me, and I would be grateful for comments of any sort, particularly ones specific to given materials or ideas or their imagined applications.

Please remember that one's first encounter with something alien to one's experience, and outside the terms of one's ordinary thinking, is apt to be confusing, and that reflection in such a situation is apt to 'make more sense' than off-the-cuff remarks. A novel thing often requires a new perspective.

In the extreme case of ideonomy, this really means an entirely new framework of thought, and a new perspective on the world itself.

Ideonomy originally grew out of a portion of my work as an MIT

neuroscientist on the general nature of the brain and bases of intelligence.  But this was merely a homological path, and ideonomy is an autonomous science  that in itself has nothing to do with the brain, although the brain may have  something to do with ideonomy.

- Patrick Gunkel

Woods Hole, Massachusetts;

Tel. 508-548-1746;

Email: pgunkel@cape.com


Book Review: Why Things Bite Back; Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences,

I've been reading this Awesome book, (when I'm doing my 5 K on the treadmill)

Why Things Bite Back; Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences, by Edward Tenner.

About a third of it covers health and medicine. It discusses how one effect of amazing advances in acute medical care, and reductions in death due to injury-- both at war or in accidents, is survival of people who develop chronic illness-- many many more. And it is chronic illness which responds so poorly to modern medicine.

Tenner discusses how at first, the military thought it had eradicated battle fatigue (PTSD) bring the statistics down from 23% in WW2, to 12% in the Korean war, to 1.2% in the Viet Nam war. But after the war, further research showed, that even with advance planning and interventions aimed at reducing PTSD, at least 1/3 of Viet Nam vets suffer PTSD.

The point is, the medical model saves lives, but they are lives often afflicted with chronic illness-- PTSD, closed head injury, frontal lobe dysregulation, stress disorders, musculoskeletal dysregulation, endocrine or other body system dysregulations that plague an enormous proportion of the population.

Our model of health care-- teaching re-balancing, re-regulation-- is one of the best answers for the survivors of modern medicine.

If you think about people who have been through accidents, surgeries, major illnesses and the like, they are all candidates for chronic illness.... and candidates for biofeedback or other mind-body training and optimal functioning approaches.  This is the model of health care that we need to take in the new millenium. And since it makes sense, it is sellable.

The challenge is to find a vehicle for marketing and advocating for this which has some financial and political muscle. If each person who made a living from this field kicked in $100-- or whatever they earned in an hour or two in to a kitty, for PR,  legislative and insurance advocacy, it would be amazing what could be accomplished.

Anyway, the book is fascinating reading.


)Mumbai: Home of Laughter Clubs and World Laughter Day

By Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, The Joyologist and Dr. Madan Kataria

The most invigorating and enlightening twenty minutes I've spent in a long time was with a Laughter Club on the beach at the Arabian Sea. It was already a sultry 85 degrees at 6:30 a.m. and the sun was burning off the overnight haze. The pungent aroma of exhaust fumes and burning dung, familiar in the cities of India, was not yet very strong as Dr. Madan Kataria and I trekked from my hotel, making our way over the finesand to a place on the beach where fresh herbal elixirs are dispensed each morning.

Among the juice choices quoted on the menu: Methi soup, good for diabetes, arthritis & joint pains; Moong soup, full of proteins & good for everybody; ginger lime, good for gas trouble, cold & cough, throat problem & digestion; Tulsi Sudha, god tonic for heart, cold & cough, controls cholesterol & purifies blood; and Tomato soup, refreshing starter of the day. Some of these concoctions were very pleasant and familiar, some were bitter and unusual. I was assured that they would do me no harm. In addition to the formalized laughter exercises that would follow, my obvious apprehensions and facial expressions upon swallowing were also a good reason for giggles and chuckles among the assembled crowd that surrounded me.

It was my great pleasure to spend many hours in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) with Dr. Kataria, the jovial, energetic, laughter loving physician who has been the catalyst for more than 100 Laughter Clubs throughout India. He explained his passion for bringing the healing power of laughter and sensible living to the world. We exchanged ideas about humor, laughter, and playfulness, comparing and contrasting his eastern and my western outlook.

The western prescription says, "Know yourself, " and the eastern says, "Become yourself." We decided that the world is ready for a synthesis of these points of view. The healthiest people are in touch with their inner motivations, values, and attitudes at the same time they are in tune with their passions and purposes, and they move deliberately in that direction.

How the Idea Originated

Within the short span of two and a half years, under the guidance of Dr. Kataria, the founder and president, more than 45 laughter clubs have been established in Mumbai and all are going strong except a few, which lacked proper leaders and motivation. According to Dr. Kataria, the membership is growing and people are deriving health benefits. To monitor the health benefits, a research panel has been setup by the parent body, Laughter Clubs International.

The idea of Laughter Clubs is the brainchild of Dr. Kataria, editor of Your Own Doctor and Mera Doctor. In March 1995, when he thought of writing an article on "Laughter, the Best Medicine", he found a large amount of scientific literature on benefits of laughter on the human mind and body. But then he decided not to publish the article. Instead he went to a public Garden at Lokhandwala Complex, in Mumbai and spoke to people about starting a laughter club.

So, on March 13, 1995, he invited four people to start laughing, standing in one corner of the garden. Initially, some people scoffed at the concept and ridiculed the idea, but when the potential health benefits were explained many people got interested and attendance started growing.

In the beginning, all the participants stood in a circle and would invite someone to come to the center and crack a joke or tell a humorous anecdote. People enjoyed the fun and felt nice after 10-20 minutes of laughter every morning.

Joking Just Wasn't Enough

Everything went very well for about 15 days, after which the stock of good jokes ran out. Stale jokes, jokes targeted at a particular community, hurtful jokes and dirty jokes started coming in, which embarrassed many members, especially the ladies. "It was evident," Dr. Kataria remembers, "that if we wanted to laugh every day we could not depend on someone telling jokes 365 day a year." Jokes were banned and it was decided that the club members would laugh without them.

It took another couple of weeks before Dr. Kataria came out with an action plan to help people to laugh without jokes.

To his knowledge, it was the first time that laughter therapy had been put on a public platform, where anyone could participate and laugh for 15-20 minutes in a group, without paying a single penny. Kataria describes this practice, in part, as, "a beautiful package of stimulated simulated laughters," such as: hearty laugh, silent laugh with month wide open, jumping laugh with mouth closed, medium laugh, cocktail laugh, arm swinging laugh, and one meter laugh.

Each "laughter" lasts for about 30-45 seconds. Between "laughters" members practice deep breathing, and neck, shoulder and stretching exercises. The different laughter exercises, deep breathing, and stretching are similar to many yogic asanas.

In addition, all the laughter club members practice ways of "sensible living" as recommended by Dr. Kataria. These include such practices as paying compliments during the whole week and sharing their experiences on Sundays, and asking forgiveness on Fridays to bust overdeveloped ego, which is the seat of many troubles in life and stops us from laughing. By celebrating birthdays of each and every member after the laughter session, he has added a new dimension to the interpersonal relationship aspect of the Laughter Clubs.

How to Start a Laughter Club in Your Area

Find a place in your locality where people can assemble early in the morning when they go for a walk. It can either be a public garden, a ground or a beach. The advantage of selecting such a place is that you can combine your laughter therapy session with your morning walk. You may have a laughing session of about 1520 minutes duration and then proceed with your walk. Also, it is easier to gather a large number of people at such places. The chosen place should not be in the immediate vicinity of residential complexes so as to prevent disturbance to others. It is not advisable to have such sessions in residential premises, either.

The ideal time to start a laughing session is between 6a.m. and 7a.m. Small adjustments can be made in the starting time according to the convenience of the participants. "The advantage of laughing in the morning," according to Dr. Kataria, "is that 20 minutes of laughter in the morning keeps you in good spirits throughout the day. It energizes your body and charges you with happiness." Morning walks and laughter therapy sessions are complementary to each other and the benefits of both can be experienced together, at the same place and time of the day. Moreover, pollution levels are lowest in the morning and this ensures a good supply of relatively fresh air.

Kataria advises anyone wishing to start a laughter club in India to organize a group of at least 25 people (the larger the number of people, the easier it is to laugh) and then get in touch with him. He then organizes a team of experts who go to that location for a demonstration of various techniques of "Laughter Therapy" and to train some persons from the group as "Anchor Persons" (facilitators/leaders) who give the instructions that initiate the different kinds of laughter.

Some Personal Observations

The experience was exhilarating, festive and friendly. It combined yoga techniques familiar to me with what starts as simulated, or some might say "forced" laughter, which then turns into peals of genuine mirth. Anyone who has ever played the game of "Chucklebelly" knows what this is like.

Watching and participating in the Laughter Club, reminded me of stories I have heard for many years claiming great benefits from a Buddhist practice of forced laughter. Supposedly, according to the descriptions, in order to set the spirit and mental attitude right and to promote health, one is advised to start each day with laughter. With slight variations, the prescription supposedly is to lie in bed upon awakening first thing in the morning and force yourself to laugh anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, then get up and start your day. Kataria had never heard these stories, but the activities at the Laughter Club sure looked like what I had heard about.

Kataria begins with extemporaneous words of encouragement to establish a positive motivational frame of mind in participants.

He summarizes the potential benefits at the conclusion, reminding the group that laughter is free and that the Laughter Club is nonparochial, nonsectarian, and open to everyone.

Midway through the second set of laughters I was struck by the strong sense of friendship and familiarity I felt with people whom I met only a few minutes previously. I wonder if this is one of the great social benefits of large group "laughters", although I don't recall ever having those feelings at venues such as comedy concerts where people are laughing wildly. In the Laughter Club, there is a sense of camaraderie and welcome. I look forward to the research data the will eventually be forthcoming, to see whether it shed some light on the phenomenon as I experienced it.

World Laughter Day

The following is excerpted with permission from a report in Dr. Kataria's monthly magazine, Your Own Doctor.

"The 11th day of January 1998 went down the history when more than 10,000 participants from laughter clubs all over India laughed together at Race Course grounds Mumbai, to tell the whole world that we need to take laughter seriously. The outstanding success of the program was the result of excellent and dedication of several Laughter Clubs. The enthusiastic participation by thousands of members proved that these Laughter Clubs are not a laughing matter.

"Dr. Kataria said that he would like to mention a couple of special features of the Laughter Club movement. One is that to become a member of a Laughter Club there is no form, no fee and no other fuss. All that a person has to do is to stand with those who have gathered to laugh and then just laugh with them. The other feature is that laughter at the laughter clubs is not confined to physical aspects of laughter. On the contrary, there is more emphasis on the emotional part and extending it to what we call inner laughter.

"By inner laughter we mean that the spirit of laughter, which is to be happy and make others happy, goes within us and becomes part of our life and living. In that direction, ideas like paying deserving compliments, apologizing for the wrongs done and the like, which eliminate bitterness, lift spirits of people, bring cheer and happiness around and generally add to one's quality of life are being introduced. And that, in tandem with physical laughter, we believe, will bring about what we call inner laughter.

"The idea of organizing World Laughter Day, Dr. Kataria said, was to remind people of the many benefits of laughter and to actually show them that to laugh is not as difficult as it is thought to be. To be the beneficiary of all the benefits, one merely has to remove the usual inhibitions, be ready to laugh and then just go ahead and laugh.

"Dr Kataria said that, instead of indulging in more words, he would like to demonstrate how members of laughter clubs laugh and how easily and heartily they do so. All the members of various laughter clubs present then joined him in what he said were some of the types of laughter and gave their names: medium laughter, silent I laughter, jhoola laughter and meter laughter.

"The grounds, which are usually filled with of the sound of horse gallops, groans of many losers and laughter of a few winners, perhaps, for the first time, reverberated with laughter and happiness. Guests could not hold themselves back, joined in and then laughed with abandon. Dr. Kataria ended with these words: "I am the healthiest person in the world, I am the happiest person in the world because I am a laughter club member." All the laughter club members joined in this with gusto as they do every day. TV and other cameras eagerly filmed the scene. The point was clearly made by Dr Kataria that laughing is really easy." [Dr. Kataria expects 50,000 people to assemble in Mumbai next January for World Laughter Day. I expect to be there to join the laughter and support the celebration so that I can give you a full report. SW]


Steve Wilson is a psychologist who, as an author, speaker, and The Joyologist, promotes the benefits of humor, laughter, and  playfulness. His philosophy is "Don't Postpone Joy" and his mission is "Changing the face of the world, one smile at a time."

Contact him in the USA at 18006695233, or via worldwide email at steve@stevewilson.com, and visit his website at www.stevewilson.com.

Dr. Madan Kataria is physician practicing in Mumbai, India. He is the founder and president of Laughter Clubs International, and the originator of World Laughter Day, celebrated and observed the 2nd Sunday in January each year. Contact him in Mumbai by telephone at 91226316426, or worldwide email at laugh@bom3.vsnl.net.in, or visit the Laughter Club website at www.indiabuzz.com/laughter/yogi.htm


NOTE: The following additional information is provided by Dr. Kataria and may be included with this article:


It is more than oneandhalf years now that people have been practicing laughter therapy all over India. There is a growing demand for opening such clubs at more than 200 places in India and abroad. Everyday more and more people are joining laughter clubs.

Health benefits can be attributed to positive thinking, faith healing, and autosuggestion, where we are reinforcing our subconscious minds every day with a positive frame of mind.

Most important: People suffering from a variety of diseases have been benefited in some way or the other but we don't claim to having cured longstanding ailments with Laughter therapy. Laughter is more of a supplementary and preventive therapy. So far we have not done any research, but we are starting clinical research very soon. It will take a couple of years before we publish  research data on laughter therapy. Based on the interviews of hundreds of people in India and research done all over the world, we have found that laughter has helped many people.


The one benefit everybody gets is a sense of well being. After 15 minutes of laughter in the morning, you will feel fresh throughout the day. There is no medicine like laughter therapy which gives you instant results You start feeling the freshness straightaway. Many people have found that they don't get irritated over small little things after starting this therapy. Their approach towards life changes.


Stress and strain of modern life is taking a heavy toll on the human mind. Mindrelated diseases like anxiety, depression, nervous breakdown, and sleeplessness are on the rise. Laughter has benefited many people sleep better and reduce depression. People with suicidal tendencies have started living with more hope.


Laughter therapy is one of the finest antistress measures ideally suited for today's stress ridden life. It can be compared to any form of relaxation and medication. In meditation you need to physically disconnect your mind from the physical world. While   laughing you cannot think of anything else. Either you think or you laugh, but not both.

In other types of meditation you need to concentrate a lot to take your mind away from unwanted thoughts, which is easier said than done. Therefore Laughter therapy is the easiest form of medications form which brings you instant relaxation.



People are instructed to laugh forcefully so that all the residual air in the lungs is emptied and is replaced by oxygenrich fresh air. Forceful laughter involves some physical strain and rise in abdominal pressure Patients with the following complications are those who should not join in laughter therapy sessions.

HERNIA: Hernia is profusion of abdominal contents through the muscle wall of the abdominal cavity. Those suffering from inguinal (groin) hernia or abdominal incisional (operative scar)hernia should avoid attending laughter sessions. This is because Laughter produces additional abdominal pressure and may aggravate the condition. However, if the patient has undergone surgical treatment for hernia, he/she could be assessed by a surgeon for fitness before attending Laughter therapy.

ADVANCED PILES: The condition of patients with long standing piles may worsen with laughter therapy. They should get themselves treated before attending therapy.

HEART DISEASE WITH CHEST PAIN: Heart patients who get chest pain while walking or during routine activity, should not participate. Patients whose conditions have stabilized and who can walk for 3045 minutes without difficulty, are fit to join the laughter session. Avoid Laughter therapy for three months after a heart attack and two months following abdominal surgery.

PROLAPSE: Ligaments supporting the uterus become weak after the age of 40.They may sag and cause prolapse of the uterus.

Such women have lower abdominal discomfort and may lose complete control over their urine flow (stress incontinence). They should avoid laughter therapy until they are treated surgically.

PREGNANCY: Pregnant woman may undergo an abortion if there is a rise in abdominal pressure and hence should avoid attending a laughter session. Even patients without any illness, but who feel uneasy after a laughter session should discontinue their attendance and consult a doctor

SEVERE COLD AND FLU: Those suffering from a viral common cold with running nose along with fever and chest infection should stay away from the group for 23 days till the infection and fever settle down.


l. To create an awareness of Benefits of New Yogic technique of Laughter therapy all over the world by imparting practical training
of various techniques of stimulated Laughters without the aid of jokes.
2.To encourage general public to get rid of their inhibitions and achieve self confidence.
3.To make people keenly aware of "Spirit of Laughter" by under standing the basic principles of Sensible Living through Laughter Clubs.
4.To setup new Laughter Clubs, to assist, guide and coordinate the activities of Laughter practice of affiliated Clubs.
5.To setup a panel of Doctors from various specialties and systems of medicine to conduct scientific studies and research work
as to how Laughter can affect physical, mental, social and spiritual well being of participants.
6.To discover the new benefits of Laughter therapy on normal individuals and those suffering from stress related disorders.
7.To organize, manage or provide assistance for functions, seminars, symposiums, exhibitions, workshops, international
conferences, etc., so that laughter therapy may reach every human habitat in the world.
8.To publish journals, bulletins, setup libraries of books, audiovideo cassettes, CDs and other mediums of information on
laughter therapy.
9. To bring World Peace by holding laughter contests, exchange programs between various countries all over the world.


* Steve Wilson and Company

* "Helping people and organizations increase productivity, get the absolute most from themselves, and love every minute of it"  

* www.stevewilson.com

* USA only: 1-800-669-5233 INTERNATIONAL: 001-1-614-855-4733

* FAX: 001-1-614-855-4889


 8) Behavioral Health Benefit Dollars Have Plummeted, New Study Finds.

Consumer, Provider Groups Say Patient Care May Be At Risk; Announce Strategy to Improve Coverage and Benefits

(Washington, D.C., May 7, 1998) Behavioral healthcare benefit costs have been slashed 670 percent more than general healthcare benefit costs over the past 10 years (1988-1997), according to a new study by the Hay Group, an actuarial and benefits consulting firm in Washington, DC. Where the value of general healthcare benefits has declined 7 percent (from $2,326.86 per covered individual in 1988 to $2,155.60 in 1997), the value of behavioral healthcare benefits has declined 54 percent (from $154.08 in 1988 to $69.61 in 1997), according to the report. Behavioral health as a percent of the total healthcare benefit has plummeted 50 percent in 10 years (dropping from 6.2 percent in 1988 to 3.1 percent in 1997).

The Hay Group study (Health Care Plan Design and Cost Trends: 1988 through 1997) is the first to look at what has happened to behavioral health care compared to general health care during the tumultuous period of the last ten years. The report was prepared by the Benefits Practice of the Hay Group's Washington, DC, office. It was commissioned by the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS), which represents the nation's behavioral healthcare provider organizations; the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), which is a grassroots self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses; and the Association of Behavioral Group Practices (ABGP), which works collaboratively with NAPHS on advocacy issues. The report was funded by the NAPHS Education and Research Foundation.

"The revolution that has swept health care over the past ten years has had a particularly strong negative impact on behavioral health," said William D. Zieverink, M.D., president of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Dr. Zieverink is a psychiatrist with Behavioral Health Strategies in Portland, OR. It is important to control healthcare costs, he said, "however, the trend of slashing behavioral health dollars appears to be continuing unabated. Even when recognizing the need to cut costs and eliminate waste from the system, behavioral health benefits have been disproportionately cut compared to general healthcare benefits. Dollars are disappearing from the behavioral health system."

"The erosion of behavioral health dollars is simply discrimination in another, very dangerous, form," added Laurie Flynn, NAMI Executive Director. "This type of discrimination means that resources desperately needed by those with serious brain disorders are being eliminated." For example, the number of plans with annual visit limits for outpatient behavioral health care has nearly doubled. In 1997, 48 percent of plans imposed annual visit limits for outpatient behavioral health care compared to just 26 percent in 1988, according to the Hay Group report. By 1997, the most prevalent limit was 20 outpatient visits. In contrast, 46 percent of the plans that imposed a visit limit in 1988 allowed a maximum of 50 visits. Today, only 17 percent allow 50 visits. "This report suggests once again that individuals with serious mental illnesses and their families who most need access to effective treatments are benefiting the least," said Ms. Flynn.

"It is time to seriously consider the implications of severe loss of funding and loss of access on the lives of real people," added Leonard S. Goldstein, M.D., president of the Association of Behavioral Group Practices. Dr. Goldstein is also president of Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group, PC, in Fairfax, VA. "We all want to control costs," said Dr. Goldstein. "But how far is too far? This study should encourage all employers and payors to take a second look at their benefit design for behavioral health to be certain that it can deliver what they expect it to."

NAPHS, ABGP, and NAMI have joined together to develop an Employer's Checklist designed to help purchasers of behavioral health benefits evaluate their own behavioral health benefits. A free copy is available on line at http://www.naphs.org or by writing Employer's Checklist, NAPHS, 1317 F Street, NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20004-1105.

"The prevalence of mental and addictive disorders is high," said Dr. Goldstein. "The impact of these disorders when left untreated is very high -- both in economic and human terms. Behavioral health issues need to be on the radar screen of every employer in the nation."


Plan design information for 1988 through 1997 was extracted from the Hay Benefits Report for each year. The Hay Benefits Report collects data on the typical design of healthcare benefits provided by medium and large employers in the United States. The data in the 1997 Hay Benefits Report was collected from 1,043 U.S. employers representing a broad industry and geographic mix.

The benefits for each year were coded into Hay's Mental Health Benefit Value Comparison (MHBVC) model. MHBVC was developed by the Hay Group for the National Institute of Mental Health to provide estimates of the costs of mental health parity.

About the Study Sponsors

The Hay Group, founded in 1943, is an international consulting firm providing the full range of human resources and management services to clients throughout the world. The Benefits Practice of the Hay Group, formerly Hay/Huggins Company, Inc., was one of the first consulting organizations in the United States to provide independent actuarial services. Hay/Huggins traces its history to 1911 when Huggins and Company was founded in Philadelphia. Since 1973, Hay/Huggins has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hay Group and maintains a national network of local consulting offices which are responsible for delivering actuarial and benefit consulting services to our clients. These offices are located in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders. Founded in 1979, NAMI has more than 172,000 family members and consumers who seek equitable services for people with severe mental illnesses. NAMI has more than 1,140 state and local affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS) represents behavioral healthcare systems that are committed to the delivery of responsive, accountable, and clinically effective treatment and prevention programs for people with mental and substance abuse disorders. Its members are behavioral healthcare provider organizations, including 400 specialty hospitals, general hospital psychiatric and addiction treatment units, residential treatment centers, partial hospital services, behavioral group practices, and other providers of care. In 1997, the Association of Behavioral Group Practices (ABGP) also joined NAPHS as a system member, further expanding NAPHS's representation of the continuum of care. NAPHS concentrates on three key areas: strengthening advocacy for behavioral health services; building strategic alliances; and collecting and disseminating information to help members understand, respond to, and manage change.

The Association of Behavioral Group Practices (ABGP) has been formed to advocate for a marketplace in which behavioral group practices can deliver effective, quality behavioral healthcare services and thereby improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities. ABGP works:
-- to serve as the national advocacy voice for behavioral group practices
-- to communicate the role, benefits, value, and effectiveness of behavioral group practices in the healthcare delivery system
-- to strengthen the advocacy voice for behavioral healthcare through collaboration, coordination, and communication with delivery system providers along the continuum of care

NOTE: The Hay Group Report and key findings can be accessed on the Internet at http://www.naphs.org.

9) Check out MX Bookfinder http://www.mxbf.com/search/     it searches multiple sites which offer new or used books. I did a search on the word biofeedback and found loads of old titles, many worth having. I had almost every one of them, except, I think the biofeedback diet book, and a few smaller ones from the seventies.

Here’s what the site says about itself:

The MX BookFinder started off as a side project by Anirvan Chatterjee, a Network Information Systems student at the University of California, Berkeley. It was first made available to the general public in late January 1997, and has since grown to become one of the most powerful tools available to the online bibliophile community.

The MX BookFinder has been recognized extensively in the media, with mentions in the January 28, 1998 issue of USA Today, the 2/98 issue of The Web, PC World Online, the 10/97 issue of Yahoo! Internet Life and a "top 10 of the month" listing in the 7/97 issue of Internet Underground magazine, as well as being named a Yahoo! Internet Life Useful Site of the Day. The site has also been mentioned in at least half a dozen major American city papers, and lots of book industry press.