Health Benefits of Laughter

Laughter has physiological effects on the body; it changes brain function and body chemistry.[1] Some examples of the changes are:

  • Increases heart and respiratory rates as well as oxygen consumption.
  • Increases stroke volume of the heart and dilates blood vessels.
  • Lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Laughter also has the following effects on specific illnesses.[2]

  • Watching a comedy show after eating decreases the overall rise in glucose levels.[3]
  • Laughter increases pain tolerance and reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Improves self-esteem and mood in cancer patients.
  • Decreases inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

[1] Bennett MP, Lengacher C. Humor and Laughter May Influence Health IV. Humor and Immune     Function. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009;6(2):159-164.

[2] Mora-Ripoll R. The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine. Altern Ther Health Med. 2010;16(6):56-64.

[3] Hayashi K, Hayashi T, Iwanaga S, et al. Laughter lowered the increase in postprandial blood glucose. Diabetes care. 2003;26(5):1651-1652.

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