06/15/2009 - Questions and Answers

Laughter is the best medicine

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Question

My husband always says "Laughter is the best medicine" and that this has been proved in clinical studies. Is that really the case?

 

Answer

It's often said that "experts" have shown that laughter is the best medicine; it boosts the immune system, lessens pain, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and has a beneficial effect on our overall well being. Plus, it's free!
 

Scientists have found that laughter is a form of internal massaging that exercises the body and stimulates the release of beneficial brain neurotransmitters and hormones. A positive outlook and laughter are actually good for your health.
 

Laughing empowers participants to enjoy a balance of body, mind and soul. In addition to helping the heart, laughter offers other important health benefits. When you laugh heartily, every organ is being massaged including your heart, lungs and digestive system. Headaches can go away. When you laugh the endorphins released make you feel this elation. As others have said, "It makes those big decisions seem so much less important" and "It's our greatest gift, especially if we can laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves so seriously."
 

Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
 

Laughter is about family, friends and lovers - less than 20% of everyday laughter is a response to jokes. If people want to laugh more, they should spend more time with their significant others. Whether at a party or the movies, a large group laughs more than a small one. Laughter almost disappears when one is alone.
 

The links below may be helpful in learning more about this topic.

 

Related Links
University of Maryland Medical Center
MDA Publications: Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

Created on: 09/14/2005
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009

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