Is laughter the best medicine?

Is laughter the best medicine?

Whether you’re snickering quietly at a YouTube video or giggling with your girlfriends, the act of laughing offers many health benefits. Laughter affects our bodies physiologically by sending oxygen to our muscles, optimizing our immune system and stimulating many internal organs.

We all know how great laughing makes us feel, but we often underestimate the powerful effect that this act has on our bodies physically. According to research, laughter has similar effects as a mild workout by increasing our heart rate, reducing stress levels and increasing alertness.

While laughter isn’t the cure for everything, it does offer both short and long-term health benefits. Need more proof that you should laugh more? Below are five health benefits of laughter that are no joke:

Relieves Stress
Laughing reduces the abundance of stress hormones in our system like cortisol and epinephrine, which cause the “fight-or-flight” response. At the same time, laughing increases feel-good hormones like endorphins that are released by your brain.

Massages our organs
When we laugh, we increase our intake of oxygen-rich air. This process helps to stimulate our lungs, heart and muscles, providing a respiratory and cardiovascular workout. A big “belly laugh” even exercises our abs, shoulders and diaphragm, helping to relax our muscles.

Boosts immunity
Some studies have shown that laughing has the ability to boost the levels of immune cells in our bodies. Negativity and stress can weaken our immune system, but positive thoughts that occur when laughing release neuropeptides that help reduce stress and fight illness.  

Relieves pain
Studies have suggested that laughter provides pain relief by releasing endorphins, which serve as natural painkillers. The American Cancer Society even endorses humor therapy as a complimentary therapy to relieve physical and emotional pain and stress.

Lowers blood sugar
A Japanese study found that laughing after eating was linked to lower blood sugar levels in people with and without diabetes. While there are many ways to manage blood sugar levels, laughter is thought to have a positive impact on regulating blood sugar levels.

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One Comment

  1. garretwojciecho June 26, 2014 at 4:41 am · Reply

    Science concluded a long time ago (circa 1974) that laughter is contagious. Now we know that women are the best at spreading the joy around.this is the basic fact of all that laughter is the best medicine over all the stuff.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.