Laugh your way to health

When we laugh we feel better – but why?  The research into laughter is just beginning, but what has been discovered thus far should send you in search of some belly chuckling videos.

  • A study at the University Maryland compared the effects on blood vessels of individuals watching a comedy versus those watching a drama. They found that the blood vessels of the comedy group behaved normally, expanding and contracting easily. The blood vessels of the drama group, however, tended to tense, restricting blood flow.
  • Studies have shown that humor can raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies and boost the levels of immune cells.
  • A study of diabetes had a group eat a meal and then attend a tedious lecture. The next day the group ate the same meal followed by a comedy. After the comedy the group had lower blood sugar than they did after the lecture.
  • A study at Vanderbilt University estimated that 10-15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories.
  • Loma Linda University found that participants who watched funny videos had a 43% improvement in recall abilities versus a 20% improvement in those asked to sit silently.
  • The Mayo Clinic reports the short term benefits of laughter as: enhancing the intake of oxygen-rich air which in turn stimulates your organs; activates your stress response; and soothes tension. The long-term benefits include: improving your immune system; relieving pain; increasing personal satisfaction; and improving your mood.

So take a few minutes for your health today and laugh.  And, in case you’re searching for something to give you a good chuckle – here’s a classic:

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.