Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Health & Wellness / Healthy America

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

dreamstime_xs_5033256

A nurse walked out of the delivery room and said to the man whose wife just gave birth, “Congratulations sir, you’re the father of twins!” The man replied, “How about that, I work for the Doublemint Chewing Gum Company.”

About an hour later, the same nurse entered the waiting room of expectant fathers and announced that Mr. Smith’s wife has just had triplets. Mr. Smith stood up and said, “Well, how do you like that, I work for the 3M Company.”

The next expecting father started to leave. When asked why he was leaving, he said, “I think I need a breath of fresh air. I work for 7-UP.”

How many times have you heard, “Laughter is the best medicine?”

The origin of laughter as the best medicine can be found in Proverbs 17:22:

“A joyful heart is good medicine,

But a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

Laughing is an excellent way to reduce stress and help cope with a stressful lifestyle. Laughter therapy aims to get people laughing in both group and individual sessions, reduce stress, make people happier and improve one’s health.

In 1979, Norman Cousins published a book titled Anatomy of an Illness in which he described his battle with a fatal disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis, a rare disease of the connective tissues. He refused to accept his fatal prognosis and discovered the benefits of humor in combating the disease. Cousins was quoted to say, “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Jogging, like laughing causes our body to produce endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain in response to certain activities that inhibit pain and produce the “feel good” feeling. Endorphins produce what is commonly known as “runners high”.

Dr. William F. Fry, a psychiatrist from Stanford University, California began to examine the physiological effects of laughter in the late 1960’s and is considered to be the father of ‘gelotology’ (the science of laughter). One of his studies confirmed that 20 seconds of intense laughter, even if ‘faked’, can double the heart rate for three to five minutes and may decrease your chances of respiratory infections.

Dr. Lee Berk from Loma Linda University Medical Center was inspired by Norman Cousins. Dr. Berk and his team of researchers from the field of psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI) studied the physical impact of laughter. In one study heart attack patients were divided into two groups: one half was placed under standard medical care while the other half watched humorous videos for thirty minutes each day. After one year the ‘humor’ group had fewer arrhythmia’s, lower blood pressure, lower levels of stress hormones and required lower doses of medication.

How do you “practice” or engage in laughter as therapy? One way is Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga (Hasya yoga) is a yoga practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter and asserts that laughter comes from the body not the mind.

Laughter Yoga is practiced in groups where they combine eye contact with ‘childlike playfulness’ and laughter exercises. Fake laughter then quickly becomes real. Laughter Yoga brings more oxygen to the body and brain by incorporating yogic breathing.

So tonight, try a Marx Brothers movie, a comedy club, or some Laughter Yoga. It just may be what the doctor ordered.

 

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Read more articles by Dr. Barry Chase

13
Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Betty

I can attest I used to take myself so seriously, even as a child. Then at age 23, I had an opportunity to have a Bible Study (more like a reading) with various people my age bracket from a local church. It totally brought joy into my life, as I finally learned that our God has worked out a wonderful plan for us. As I continue to learn of and from Jesus Christ (Who is The Word; John 1), I find myself laughing a lot more due to the genuine joy I feel, no matter what the circumstances in this world. No one like HIM!

erick

Good advice. When I start to get disgusted about what some of our incompetent political figures are saying or doing, I sometimes watch a youtube video. Type in their name. Some are Hillary-ous!

TW

Yes, laughter is good medicine. But the best news is that you brought to attention that is came from the Bible.
The Bible has all the answers to life’s problems and it tells us there’s nothing new under the sun.
Seek Jesus–He is our every sufficiency.

Marti

Wrong info! Ankylosing Spondylitis is Not very rare (perhaps 1% occurrence in the population. And it is only rarely fatal!!
http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/articles/arthritis/ankylosing-spondylitis.html

Frances

Loved the “laughter is good medicine” article. My thoughts/feelings are: if you can find joy, you ll feel like exercising/doing necessary work. :)

Miriam S Erickson

I would enjoy more humor to enjoy.
We need relief from all the negative news
In our daily lives.
Negativity shrinks our creativity and unique
talents.
Please suggest any books, articles, authors etc.
T

Gerald C. Lott

Laughter is powerful but exercise is the best medicine I always say.

Diana Erbio

I agree, laughter is sometimes the best medicine!
Read my latest AMAC piece in the Politics section under Opinion. “Autumn Thoughts on Bread and Government”
It might make you smile :-)

Former NC Resident

….”arrhythmia’s”…..NO apostrophe, it’s a plural!!