You know the old saying, “Laughter is the best Medicine”? I believe laughter is a grand cure for many different things. It can bring up spirits and put your worries behind you, if just only for a minute. But are there any real medical facts to back up this theory? Let’s dig a little deeper and see what we can come up with.
What Happens when we Laugh?
Have you ever thought about exactly what is happening to your body when you laugh? Let’s take a look at it for a minute. According to science when a person laughs their rate of breathing quickens, which will increase the amount of oxygen that is in the blood. This will not only help healing, but will improve your circulation. The increased oxygen will also cause the blood vessels closest to the skin to expand. This is the reason people usually turn red when going into a laughing fit. Laughter may also lower your heart rate and can even burn calories. Now here’s an interesting fact along those lines. Reports show that by laughing 100 times, you can receive a workout equivalent to a 10 minute session on a rowing machine!
Having a good chuckle may also stimulate the production of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are known as endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. These endorphins are also responsible for giving us that pleasant feeling, which I like to call Happy. 🙂 Endorphins also help in creating a stronger immune system, this is probably why miserable folks are more often sick than those that are happy. I for one am a pretty happy person for the most part, and I can’t rightfully say I’ve been really sick for several years. So I’m thinking there could be something to this.
A Laughing Matter of Fact
There was a man by the name of Norman Cousins that was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 1964. This is a form of arthritis that effects the spine. Doctors told him nothing could be done to treat his condition and he was sure to die an agonizing death. He was a firm believer in the Medicine of Laughter so he went on a quest to rent every funny movie he could find. He began watching the films over and over again and laughed as hard as he possibly could.
After six months had gone by, the doctors were astounded to find his illness was cured! He no longer had any signs of the disease at all. Because of Cousins’ experiments with laughter, some American hospitals began creating “Laughter Rooms” in the 1980’s. These rooms had all the tools of the cure such as joke books, comedic films and even had periodic shows with stand up comedians. Each patient was given a 30 to 60 minute session each day for their laughter treatment. Amazingly the hospitals began to see drastic improvements in the patients’ condition. They were actually able to decrease the use of pain medications and the patients attitudes increased dramatically.
Some of you may not believe in this as a form of medicine, but give it a try. After all, there’s nothing to be gained from being miserable all the time. Just remember, humans are very receptive creatures and when you radiate a poor attitude or a miserable feeling into the air, it is absorbed by all those around you. Let’s start now in making the world a more pleasant place to be, try integrating the Medicine of Laughter into your daily lives whether you are sick or not.