Your presence at the bedside is the greatest gift. But should you wish to offer some additional token of your care, concern, and fondness, the following items are fun alternatives to the usual well-intended fist of flowers or get-well card.

Comedy Albums

Everybody knows that laughter is the best medicine. So is pleased to introduce you to It's a vast comedy-CD-selling website founded by comic George Carlin to preserve and perpetuate the memory of the greatest comics and comedy albums of all time. So, go on and start smiling as you reminisce: you'll find classic radio recordings of Abbott and Costello, legendary albums by Steve Allen, Morey Amsterdam, Milton Berle, and George Burns. Move forward in history to comics Stan Freberg, Bob Newhart, and Bill Cosby. The latest and greatest are all here down to today's best stand-ups. Buy a bundle, secure them with a ribbon, and your hospitalized or at-home-recovering friend will definitely think of you with a smile.

Prayer Box Necklace

A women's cancer recovery site called led us to this sweet and unusual necklace that contains a small space into which you can place a written prayer for health. $9.99

Reflexology Socks

It's hard to beat a foot rub when you're stuck in bed, and these darling reflexology socks offset the intimacy, and make the endeavor fun for everyone. $15.00

Bookmark Angel

This bookmark angel, available for the same price in gold or silver tones, is a subtle way to say "God bless you." And "happy reading while you are convalescing," too. $4.95

Mini Tibetan Prayer Flags

Technically, Tibetan prayer flags are colored, hand-stamped bits of fabric imbedded with prayers. When hung up out of doors and allowed to flap and fade in the rain, the prayers are believed to be released into the wind. This mini-string is crafted to fit, when rolled, into a card envelope. When unfurled over a bed, the flags symbolically send their prayers for peace and healing to your ailing friend. This unusual gift will touch Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. $4.99

Crystal Sun Catchers

For the person who never tires of crystals and delights in the way they lend sparkle to any room, these hanging "sun-catchers" from make lovely gifts. Hospital rooms can seem especially deadening; but these Reiki-charged crystals will brighten the most depressing ICU cublicle. In this case, each string is attuned to a particular energetic zone of the body (or chakra) which makes them nice to hold for healing also. Prices range from $17.00 to $31.00. (Additional note: if you go to the site and give Spiritof founder Kim your friend's name and location, she'll beam long-distance healing energy to your pal daily for two weeks at no charge.)

Pain Relief CD

Helping a friend cope with pain through meditation, focus, and awareness can make a huge difference in their recovery process. This 70-minute CD seminar from our favorite audio publisher-Sounds True ( four guided practices to help anyone "step outside" pain. Drawing from twenty years of working with people in discomfort, teacher Shinzen Young offers a practical 70-minute program that addresses both chronic and short-term pain. $15.95.

Masks and Pads for Soothing Eyes, Shoulders, and Feet

Odd as it seems, this writer cruises in the wee hours for unusual hot water bottles to give as presents. Wonderfully unique water bottle casings are popular items in England, and you'll see them listed there with other vintage HWBs that are very charming. Stock is unpredictable, however, so we've located other items that can warm or cool a suffering friend. is a whole website devoted to flaxseed- and buckwheat-stuffed heating pads that are microwavable. We like the lavender and flax-filled eye pad for $17.95. has shoulder, neck, back, and bed warming pads stuffed with rice that are also microwavable for long lasting warmth. Prices hover in the $18 area. "Corn Babies" are goofy, humorous Iowa-corn-stuffed stuffed animals that are microwavable, and at $10.95, great for kids.

Inspiration Healing Journal

This hardcovered/suede journal published by the astute and caring folks at Hay House was inspired by Carolyn Myss's Healing Cards. It has blank pages punctuated by inspirational imagery and works of art. Specially priced at $8.76

Healing Music

Music is among the most wonderful things to give. But music is also a matter of taste, soyou'll have to think out and tune into the preferences of your friend. So much is happening in the area ofhealing sound and contemporary spiritual music--and so much already exists in the realm of inspiring symphonicand choral work--it is almost ridiculous to suggest a grouping of uplifting options. But for those of you really wishing for some advice, Beliefnet is blessed to have on staff, as community producer, a talented professional singer named Martha Ainsworth, who sensitively culled through her musical resources and came up with the following suggestions. Take your time shopping here, and enjoy the short audio tastes of each selection on Amazon. "Look for music that doesn't have a strong beat, and seems directionless," Martha advises. "It doesn't have to be slow, or even quiet. Music that has a 'spacious' feel helps people relax. And certain gentle sounds are especially soothing: harp,hammer dulcimer, voices."

The gorgeous music of "minimalist" composer Arvo Pärt has gained a large following among health care workers and patients. One nice starter option is "Sanctuary" (an anthology of his shorter works, including "Tabula Rasa" and "Cantus.")

Another beautiful choice for people of many different sorts of musical tastes is "The Protecting Veil" composed by John Tavener and performed by cellist Yo Yo Ma.

Paul McCartney's compilation of choral works (including one by John Tavener and one by McCartney himself) was released after the death of his wife Linda. Called "A Garland For Linda," all its proceeds go towards cancer research. In the "new age" category, composer Steven Halpern has several healing CDs, some with subliminal suggestions. Among them: "Music for Sound Healing."

The more we asked around the office for "healing music" suggestions, the more varied the response became. Beliefnet blogger and music lover Swami Uptown (aka Jesse Kornbluth) likes the redemptive sounds of choral works by Bach and Vivaldi as well as the West African acoustical sounds of "Moffou" by Salif Keita, and Aretha Franklin's get-out-of-bed-baby inspirationals found in "Spirit in the Dark," which she victoriously recorded as she was experiencing a painful divorce.

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