Everyone has heard at some point in their lives that laughter is the best medicine and good for the soul — it makes us happy, provides us with life-long prosperity, and can lead to better overall health. But exactly how does laughter affect our bodies in the physiological sense?
Scientists and researchers have been studying the effects of laughter on the human body for many years. In the 1970s, a man named Norman Cousins used laughter to treat his own autoimmune disease and send it into remission. In the 1990s, researchers at Loma Linda University in California discovered that laughter had the ability to lower the stress hormones dopac, cortisol, and epinephrine by as much as 70%.
Other studies on laughter have shown that it can decrease the risk for heart disease by 10%, improve a person’s immune system, and even boost the production of antibodies and cells that play a role in killing abnormal cells that lead to the development of tumors and cancer.
Even though it’s healthy for the human body overall, laughter is best known for reducing stress. People who experience long-term stress can go on to develop high blood pressure, chest pain, and insomnia — all of which can contribute to poor health and worsen existing conditions such as diabetes. Stress can also cause a person to develop heart problems, arthritis, depression, and anxiety, all of which can lead to accelerated, faster aging.
In 2010, researchers at Loma Linda University conducted another study on laughter to determine its impact on heart health. For the study, participants were randomly selected to either watch a humorous movie or a solemn documentary. In those who watched the comedy movie, blood vessels dilated by as much as one-fifth and continued to stay dilated for a 24-hour period. In those who watched the documentary, blood vessels actually constricted by 18%, which put them at higher risk for heart disease.
Experts recommend that everyone strive for at least 10 minutes of good, hard laughter per day to stave off and relieve stress, and also to prevent aging. For those who feel that they lack laughter in their everyday lives, they can try watching comedy shows, comedy films, and listen to comedy routines to help boost happiness — and overall health in general.
Rock Creek Wellness offers a variety of anti-aging services and products that can improve your overall health and slow down the aging process. Contact us today to learn more about our anti-aging therapies.