Monday, February 10, 2014

Laugh More To Be Healthy!

“Laughter can be the best medicine.”

Believe it or not, this is what people always talk about. Is this statement true? If yes, what are the reasons behind such claim?

After years of research, scientists have found some justifications on why laughing is good for the health.  

First of all, laughing boosts the immune system. Laughter has been shown to raise levels of salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA), an important antibody that fights bacteria and infections, especially those in the respiratory system.

Pain could be relieved by laughter, which is effective, free and available everywhere. Endorphins are human body’s natural painkiller that can help ease chronic pain. It is released when people laugh.

Laughing might also increase the tolerance for pain. By watching just 15 minutes of comedy with other people pushed up the pain threshold by about 10 percent, according to a paper published in 2011 in ‘Proceedings Of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences’ by researchers from the University of Oxford in Britain. Watching drama, factual shows or feel-good nature program, in contrast, did not affect the pain threshold.

Blood sugar levels might be positively affected by laughter, too. In a study, people with Type-2 diabetes and those without diabetes attended a boring lecture after eating a meal. On the next day, the participants joined a comedy show after eating the same meal. The blood glucose levels did not increase after the meal for the diabetic patients at the comedy show. While the researchers have not figured out the exact cause, they suspected that laughter might impact the neuroendocrine system and restrain blood sugar levels from spiking, or cause the acceleration of glucose use by muscle motion.

As shown by studies, laughter could lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow. People who lower their blood pressure will reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. 

By improving blood circulation and increasing oxygenation of the blood, laughter might help fight against heart disease. In a study conducted by the University of Maryland in 2005, laughter was linked to cardiovascular health. The findings found that laughter seemed to cause the endothelium (tissue that composes the lining of blood vessels) to expand and allow for better blood flow.

For those who are unable to do other physical activity due to injury or illness, laughter could be a great cardio workout. Laughing can help the heart pump and burn a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace.

Nevertheless, laughter cannot simply replace medications. Patients should still take the drugs, if any, that are prescribed by their doctors.

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