In the 1980s, the widespread availability of VCR technology represented a palpable opportunity for some. Porno peddlers, schlock horror directors, and innovating game designers all saw new possibilities in VCR distribution. But they were not the only ones. There was also a wave of direct-to-video holistic health merchants looking to improve the lives of middle-class TV viewers all across the country.
Readers perusing the November 1, 1987, issue of The Daily News—less than two weeks after “Black Monday,” the severe dip in the stock market that would mark the beginning of the end of the economic boom associated with “Reaganomics” and would incidentally also inspire a 2019 Showtime series starring Don Cheadle—were confronted with a full-page feature titled “Calling Dr. Video!” which drew attention to a handful of videocassettes competing for inclusion in your “video-medical library” at home. One of them was a curious videocassette called Video Aspirin, the handiwork of a Woodland Hills-based psychologist named Barbara Cheresnick-Rosenbaum (Ph.D.).
It is possible that the use of the term “aspirin” in the video’s title was a wee bit misleading. I am doubtful that Dr. Cheresnick-Rosenbaum (Ph.D.) herself ever expected her techniques, which used the mnemonic C.A.L.M. (Creating Circulation, Applying Pressure, Life’s Breath, & Muscle Relaxation), to have the instant efficacy with headaches that Bayer’s most famous product does. Rather, it was a way of implanting the idea that yoga-ish meditative practices can have tangible health benefits, a premise that I think few people today would have a big problem with.
I’m not going to say there’s a single thing wrong with the content of the video, which appears to have preceded the eventual popularity of the term “mindfulness,” usage of which hit a dramatic spike right after this video was made. However, something about the video testimonials of that era induced their makers to employ a rather stilted rhetorical style, the primary strategy of which was to enunciate everything in the slowest terms imaginable, and repeat everything a lot. I think they figured VCR owners were just dim. The music, credited to “Aaron” of “Studio West Productions,” constitute an unimpeachable argument in favor of hiring a pro.
via Obscure Videos
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch Mike from ‘Better Call Saul’ in a bizarre 1980s motivational video