Laughter Really is Good Medicine

June 2, 2017 in Our News & Bulletins by Uptown HC

Laughing can’t take the place of medical care or exercise, of course. But evidence suggests it really is good for you, body and mind:

  • Initially, a hearty laugh can cause blood pressure to rise, but then it decreases to below-average levels and stays there.
  • Laughter reduces at least four stress hormones, including epinephrine, cortisol, dopamine, and growth hormone.
  • Infection-fighting antibodies increase and the immune system is strengthened with laughter.
  • Laughing keeps the brain alert. It enhances learning by stimulating both sides of the brain and easing muscle tension and psychological stress.
  • Belly laughter is similar to deep breathing, allowing more oxygen-enriched blood and nutrients to enter the body.
  • One study found that an active sense of humor may help prevent heart disease.
  • Laughter provides good cardiac, abdominal, facial, and back muscle conditioning.

Laughter can be very important to mental and emotional health, lifting our mood, lowering stress, helping us forget our pains and problems, and improving our relationships with others. Seniors who live alone may miss out on the benefits a good laugh can bring. Our cheerful companions help keep our clients active and socially engaged, including sharing in their laughter.

Sources:

Fry W, Savin W. Mirthful laughter and blood pressure. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 1 (1): 49-62

Berk L, Tan S, Fry W. Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 298 (6).

Berk L, Felten D, Tan S, et al. Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. Alternative Therapies, 2001; 7 (2): 62-76.

Fry W, Rader C. The respiratory components of mirthful laughter. Journal of Biological Psychology, 19 (2): 39-50.

Miller M, Fry W. The effect of mirthful laughter on the human cardiovascular system. Medical Hypotheses, 2009; 73 (5): 636-639.

Clark A, Seidler A, Miller M. Inverse association between sense of humor and coronary heart disease. International Journal of Cardiology, 2001; 80 (1): 87-88.

Cogan R, Cogan D, Waltz W, McCue M. Effects of laughter and relaxation on discomfort thresholds. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 10 (2): 139-144.

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