Friday, September 22, 2006

Laughter -- good for what ails you

It is said that 'laughter is the best medicine,' and scientific research confirms this. When we laugh, we reduce the levels of certain stress hormones which would normally suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure and increase the number of platelets in the blood (which can cause arterial obstructions). Besides lowering stress and its related side effects, laughter actually increases
  • the number cells that kill tumors and viruses
  • the disease fighting protein gamma-interferon
  • T-cells (a major player in our immune system)
  • B-cells (makers of disease destroying antibodies)
  • salivary immunoglobulin A (defends against infectious organisms)

But wait! There's more!

Laughter is a great workout as well. 100 laughs is the equivalent of 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike. It lowers your blood pressure, thereby increasing vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood. And it gives your diaphragm and back, leg, respiratory, and facial muscles a workout.

There are psychological benefits as well, since laughter is a safe way to release negative feelings, anger, sadness, fear and anxiety. So what are you waiting for? It's time to rent that funny movie you've been wanting to see.

Reference: How Stuff Works


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