Friday, July 22, 2005

Laughter and better well-being

This just in "Laughter is the best medicine." It's an old saying, but evidently it is true!

A recent study has shown that laughter-as-medicine has more positive health effects than first realized. Conducted by the University of Maryland, the new study examined the physiological reactions of participants to movies of different genres. The group who viewed a comedy experienced an increase in blood flow in 95 out of 100 cases. Exactly the opposite occurred for those who sat through a drama or sad movie - 74 out of 100 had diminished blood flow. In the group who watched a comedy, the blood flow benefits lasted up to 24 hours.

This all makes good sense. When you laugh hysterically at a comedian or a comedy, your cheeks get a little red which demonstrates the increased circulation in your body.

Presented at the most recent meeting of the American College of Cardiology, the study demonstrates a strong relationship between laughter and heart health. Laughter helps our bodies in a number of ways:
a good laugh helps reduce our stress levels
it improves our blood flow
a hearty chuckle causes a cascade of painkilling endorphins into the blood stream
laughter increases our sense of well-being
it gives internal muscles a work out (it's like jogging for the inside!)
and it improves the functioning of our immune system (increases T-cell counts).

However, we don't need science to tell us that laughter is good for us. Common sense and a love of life will tell you that laughter is always the best way to go. So smile and laugh easily - your body and your friends will thank you!


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