You are probably tired of hearing the famous quote “laughter is the best medicine”. But have you ever wondered what exactly the health benefits of laughing? Studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscles’ flexibility. Most of all, laughing can boost the body’s immune system by raising the levels of infection-fighting cells and disease-fighting proteins in our body.
The results of the study conducted by Dr. Lee Berks and Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California also indicated that laughing triggers the release of natural endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being. Laughter allows a person to “forget” about pains such as muscle aches, arthritis, even pains of a broken heart.
Said study coincides with the observations of Mr. Norman Cousins which was published in his book entitled ‘Anatomy of an Illness.’ He mentioned in the book how he was diagnosed in 1964 with Bechterew Disease. The disease usually results in acute inflammation of the spine and can affect other parts of the body. Norman Cousins’ case was so severe that he was given a few months to live.
Realizing that negative thoughts and attitudes can result in illness, he reasoned that positive thoughts and attitudes may have the opposite effect. So he left the hospital and stayed in a hotel where he took mega doses of vitamin C and watched humorous movies and shows, like ‘Candid Camera’ and the Marx Brothers. He found out that few minutes of energetic laughter resulted in at least two hours of pain-free sleep. He continued this routine until he finally recovered. Thus, he proved that laughter is the best medicine, and paved the way to mind-body medicine.
With all these wonderful benefits, we now have plenty of reasons to laugh.