Sunday, June 17, 2007


Just something I found interesting.

From the ArcaMax Publishing, Health & Fitness Newsletter: Your Health: Hefty Doses Of Humor And Hearty Laughter Offer Measurable Health BenefitsRallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
Whoever said laughter is the best medicine may have been right. A growing body of scientific evidence supports the notion that laughter has a number of important health benefits. The results of a study conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggest that giggling and guffawing are good for your cardiovascular system. Researchers determined that after healthy subjects watched portions of a funny movie, their blood vessels expanded, significantly increasing the flow of blood to their hearts. After viewing part of a heart-wrenching drama that evoked emotional stress, on the other hand, the volunteers' blood vessels constricted, reducing cardiovascular circulation. On average, the subjects' blood flow increased 22 percent following bouts of laughter and decreased 35 percent after periods of mental stress. In a related study, researchers evaluated the humor responses of adults in various circumstances. Half of the study participants had either suffered a heart attack or had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery, while the other half had no history of heart disease. The results of the study suggest that the individuals with heart disease exhibited more signs of anger and hostility. Compared to people of the same age without cardiovascular disease, the heart patients were roughly 50 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations. Scientists aren't entirely sure why a sense of humor seems to benefit cardiovascular health, but some speculate that it could be because laughter stimulates the production of nitric oxide. In the body, nitric oxide helps dilate arteries and lower blood pressure, improving blood flow in and around the heart. Laughter also provides a gentle, invigorating cardiovascular workout. Engaging in just 15 to 20 seconds of hearty laughter elevates the heart rate and expands the lungs, increasing oxygen levels and improving circulation throughout the body. Chuckling and chortling can also boost the disease-fighting powers of the immune system. At Loma Linda School of Medicine in California, students who watched funny videos for just 30 minutes demonstrated significant increases in the number and activity of T cells and natural killer cells, components of the immune system that help protect the body from cancer. The laughing students also had higher blood levels of Immunoglobulin A, a compound involved in defending the body against upper respiratory infections, including colds and flu. Because it is present in human breast milk, Immunoglobulin A can help prevent infection in nursing newborns. Among a group of breastfeeding moms, researchers found that women who actively used humor to cope with stress had fewer upper respiratory infections than those who focused less on the funny side of life. Likewise, the infants of the humor-seeking moms had fewer upper respiratory infections than the offspring of the more serious women. In his book "Anatomy of an Illness," Norman Cousins touted the pain relieving powers of humor. Suffering from a crippling form of arthritis, Cousins found that a 10-minute bout of belly laughter during the day gave him at least two hours of peaceful, pain-free sleep at night. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that when hospitalized children watched cartoons and funny movies, they were better able to tolerate painful treatments ranging from shots to surgeries. Scientists speculate that laughter brings about a measure of pain relief by boosting the body's production of natural painkillers called endorphins. Laughter has long been recognized as an effective stress relieving activity. In response to stress, the body produces cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that fuel the fight-or-flight reaction. A hearty laugh can significantly reduce levels of these hormones in the bloodstream, returning the body to a more relaxed state. Although most adults enjoy a good knee-slapper, we don't laugh nearly as often as we did when we were kids. Compared to the average preschooler, who laughs over 300 times a day, the typical grownup is lucky to laugh a measly 15 times daily. If your funny bone is fractured and you can't quite manage a heartfelt laugh, mustering a simple smile is well worth the effort. In one study, volunteers reported feeling happier and more relaxed after repeatedly saying "eee," an exercise that required them to take on smile-like expressions. Laughter isn't a miracle cure, but there's no doubt that it's good for you. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to improve your health, adding a hefty dose of humor and a few hearty laughs to your daily life is a good place to start. ======== Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., is a family physician in Kingsport, Tenn., and author of "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her Web site is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at This news arrived on: 06/16/2007
Copyright © 2007 ArcaMax Publishing, Inc., and its licensors. All rights reserved.

I beleive happy people are healthier and laughter makes you happy.
When your spirits are up so is the immune system
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?