BOOMER TALK: Thump your thymus

Columnist Carole Fawcett provides an option for reducing stress

Huh?  Thump my what? Your thymus. The master gland of the immune system that is located just below the upper part of the breastbone (sternum).  If you put your chin (or chins – LOL) on your chest you’ll find the right location.

Then start  thumping — not too hard, not too soft, but firmly.  I make a fist and then thump with the flat thumb side and I find it works well.   Just for fun you can say, “aaahhhhhh” out loud and give voice to the fun staccato sounds we used to make when we were children.

When you are stressed, your thymus gland shrinks.  So, you may want to thump your thymus on a regular basis – as it boosts your immune system.

Your thymus is naturally stimulated – when you laugh, cry or yawn, it gets a mini work-out as it relaxes and expands.

In Dr. Annette Goodheart’s book, Laughter Therapy, she writes about  a tribe in New Guinea that apparently thumps its thymus glands every morning when it gets up.  Just knowing this makes me smile.

Goodheart  was the originator of the laughter movement in the 1970s and the current laughter movement continues to use a lot of her original ideas. She died a year ago, but I suspect she is somewhere laughing and giving her heavenly thymus gland a good workout.

Oh,  and here is an interesting little fact. Children’s thymus glands are larger than adults, likely because they have not yet learned how to suppress their feelings.

It is a well known fact that children laugh more than adults each day.  Just listen to them play together.  Sadly, it seems that when we grow up and become more serious, we are lucky if we laugh five minutes out of each day.  Laughter tells the immune system to, “turn it up a notch.” And that is because the thymus gland is being massaged. So start giggling.

When we are startled, or given some unpleasant news, as Goodheart points out, we frequently inhale and exclaim,  “Oh,” and put our hand over the thymus gland.  I bet you have done that without even realizing it.

You can also lightly tap the thymus gland of your pets and they will love you for it.  My pooch loves it.

So during this season of flu and colds, if you are not getting your quotient of laughter and jocularity each day, and you know your stress levels are high, add thymus thumping to your daily routine.

Take on the habit of  the tribes in New Guinea. Get out of bed in the morning and as you are waiting for your coffee to be made or the dog to pee, just stand there and thump your thymus.  Thump, thump, thump, thump, with firm gentleness.

Remember, stress, anger, frustration and other negative emotion can make your thymus shrink. If it had a face, I can visualize it’s little face aghast  and shrinking away in horror  from the negative source.

So when you are feeling annoyed with someone, instead of saying, “take a hike” (or something stronger), say, “ah – go thump your thymus.”

Then go thump yours. You’ll both benefit and it will be your little secret.

Carole Fawcett is a counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist, humourist and freelance writer.


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