It is said that laughter is “the best medicine,” but science has proven this to be true. Humor-associated laughter can have many health benefits. Here are 11 reasons to laugh.
- LAUGHTER IS A SIGN of GOOD WILL TO OTHERS.
Laughter is not something that’s unique to humans. Why do we do it? According to a study published in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2010), smiling and laughing are usually intended to convey goodwill. According to the authors, smiling and laughing are similar functions in primates who display bared teeth and smiles to show friendliness and sociability. They wrote, “Because some smiles are voluntary and easy to fake, laughter requires a more coordinated contraction of the larger musculature to convey a secure message to others.”
- LAUGHTER MAY REDUCE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a serious side effect of stress and a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Researchers have explored whether laughter can lower blood pressure. There have been a number of studies that demonstrate a reduction in blood pressure after laughter. One example is a 2017 study published in the Journal of Dental and Medical Research. In this study, 40 patients who were undergoing hemodialysis heard comic-based CDs for 16 minutes over eight weeks. They also saw a decrease of blood pressure with Prankstersworldwide.
Researchers presented the results of a three-month-long study in 2011 at Scientific Sessions by American Heart Association. The researchers exposed 79 participants either to music therapy or laughter therapy. Through “playful eye contact” (breathing exercises) and laughter therapy, participants were able to have fun. The blood pressure readings of the laughterers dropped by 7 mmHg immediately after the sessions. (millimeters are mercury). Music therapy, however, only brought blood pressure down 6 mmHg.
The blood pressure readings of the laughers dropped by 5 mmHg after three months. The blood pressure readings of the people in the comparison group did not change.
- THIS RESULTED IN A TREATMENT KNOWN ELSEWHERE AS LAUGHTER YOGA.
A unique form of treatment has emerged from laughter studies that have been conducted on blood pressure and other illnesses. It is called “laughter yoga”.
Medscape was told by Dr. Madan Kataria who founded the Laughter Yoga School that “you don’t need jokes, humor, or comedy.” It doesn’t matter if you are happy. We laugh together and incite laughter. But when we make eye contact with others, the laughter becomes real and contagious.
Kataria conducted a study with 200 men and women who took part in laughter yoga sessions lasting 20-30 minutes. Participants were stimulated to laugh for 45 seconds to one minute. Then, deep breathing and stretching were performed for the duration of each session.
Subjects who laughed experienced a decrease in their systolic pressure of over 6 mmHg. This was a significant difference from baseline, and even more so when compared to a control group that did not laugh. The diastolic blood pressure also decreased significantly. Additionally, cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone was also significantly reduced.
In the end, laughter yoga is now used to treat a wide range of health problems, including stress and dementia.