Laughter ‘really is the best medicine’

In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter is the best medicine, for a new study has found that it can be as healthy as exercise.

Scientists have found that laughter affects the body in a similar way to exercise, say a jog around the park —— in fact, it lifts the mood, decreases stress hormones, enhances immune activity, lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

For the study, a number of volunteers were asked to watch just 20 minutes of comedies and their blood samples saw a dramatic drop in stress hormones, blood pressure and levels of cholesterol.

Like exercise, they also had their appetite stimulated. That means that the “laughercise” can be a way to reduce heart disease and diabetes. It is especially important to the elderly who may find it hard to perform more physical activities, say the scientists.

Dr. Lee Berk, from Loma Linda University, California, who led the study, said that emotions and behaviour had a physical impact on the body.

“The body’s response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise. As the old biblical wisdom states, it may indeed be true that laughter is a good medicine,” he was quoted by the British media as saying.

The scientists, who have been studying the effects of laughter for more than two decades, said that the high one can get from a giggling fit was similar to the endorphin rush from exercise.

They have shown how it can reduce one’s risk of a heart attack and diabetes and generally regulate the body’s vital functions. It is also an important way to de—stress after a day’s work, say the scientists.

The findings were presented at the ‘Experimental Biology’ conference.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 12:01:37 AM |

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