Archive for November 8th, 2014

November 8, 2014

Bathroom Singing

mic

Bathroom singing is common because the hard wall surfaces, often tiles or wooden panels, and lack of soft furnishings, create an aurally pleasing acoustic environment. The multiple reflections from walls enrich the sound of one’s voice. Small dimensions and hard surfaces of a typical bathroom produce various kinds of standing waves, reverberation and echoes, giving the voice ‘fullness and depth.’ This habit was first reported (with an attempt of explanations) in the 14th century by Arab historian Ibn Khaldun. In Chapter 1 of his ‘Muqaddimah’ writes: ‘Likewise, when those who enjoy a hot bath inhale the air of the bath, so that the heat of the air enters their spirits and makes them hot, they are found to experience joy. It often happens that they start singing, as singing has its origin in gladness.’

The bathroom singer has become an ironic reference to mediocre or amateur singers, not brave enough to sing in public. Jon Anderson of the band Yes had tiles installed in his studio, to simulate the echo effect of one’s vocals in a bathroom. Paul Simon has said he also uses reflective tiles to compose music: ‘The main thing about playing the guitar, though, was that I was able to sit by myself and play and dream. And I was always happy doing that. I used to go off in the bathroom, because the bathroom had tiles, so it was a slight echo chamber. I’d turn on the faucet so that water would run – I like that sound, it’s very soothing to me – and I’d play. In the dark. ‘Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again.’

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November 8, 2014

Gelotology

laughter

laughter yoga

Gelotology [jel-uh-tol-uh-jee] (from the Greek ‘gelos,’ meaning ‘laughter’) is the study of laughter and its effects on the body, from a psychological and physiological perspective. Its proponents often advocate induction of laughter on therapeutic grounds in complementary medicine. The field of study was pioneered by psychiatrist William F. Fry at Stanford.

Although healers since antiquity have recommended laughter as a form of medicine, the field was initially deprecated by most other physicians, who doubted that laughter possessed analgesic (painkilling) qualities. One early study that demonstrated the effectiveness of laughter in a clinical setting showed that it could help patients with atopic dermatitis (a recurring, itchy skin disorder) respond less to allergens. Other studies have shown that laughter can help alleviate stress and pain, and can even assist cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (treatment for patients recovering from cardiac surgeries).

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