“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” – Lord Byron
All of us are born with a natural gift that is laughter which is also an effective medicine. However clichéd it may sound, it remains the indisputable truth. When we laugh the happy hormones called the ‘endorphins’ are released into our blood stream and makes the body relax.
Laughter therapy is the use of laughter in treatment as it immensely helps in the human endeavor in coping and also in the fight for survival. Laughter instantly lifts our spirits and makes us playful and can be used to ease any tense situation. Saying something humorous at the height of a heated argument has helped in allaying conflicts. It is because when we laugh our perspective gets a shift and we actually see the problems as manageable. It is also well known that laughter brings people closer.
“The best blush to use is laughter: It put roses in your cheeks and in your soul.” ― Linda Knight
Physical benefits of Laughter Therapy
Studies have established that laughter has the power to bring significant improvement in many of the medical conditions humans suffer from.
- Laughter is highly helpful in relaxing muscles and promotes digestion and even eases stomach aches.
- Laughter increases the intake of oxygen into the body which promotes general health.
- Immune system is strengthened and the circulatory system is also stimulated by laughter.
- Reduction in pain and a regulated blood pressure are other physical benefits of laughter.
- Brain function improves and results in improved memory, creativity and alertness. Read more at our blog – How to increase brain power
- In addition, laughter can drastically improve the overall attitude, relaxation, promoting better social relations, reducing stress and restful sleep and improved quality of life in general.
All these changes add up to a feeling of well being.
How effective is it?
Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University, California has revealed through scientific research that laughter boosts the immune system as it causes an increase in the number of natural killer cells and the antibodies. Medical journals invariably have acknowledged that laughter therapy helps in improving the quality of life for chronic patients. An enhanced state of well being facilitates their positive outlook. This is the reason why more and more hospitals are including it in their treatment routine.
Studies by Dr. Michael Miller of Maryland University have proved that laughter dilates the thin blood vessels facilitating better blood circulation helping in lowering the blood pressure. Laughter therapy has helped many in reducing the intake of antihypertensive drugs.
Research done at University of Michigan has established that 20 seconds of laughter provides the same benefit as 3 minutes spent on a rowing machine.
Research done at Bangalore, India has shown that practicing Laughter Yoga has helped in increasing positive emotions and a significant decline in negative emotions. This very aspect of laughter therapy can be used effectively in reducing depression and thus reduce the use of anti-depressants.
In effect, it can be said that laughter therapy is very helpful in the healing process in any illness, including cancer.
Studies conducted in India and the US have confirmed that it has proved to be effective in showing enhanced productivity and stress reduction substantially through a three week session of laughter therapy.
Now laughter clubs are proliferating all over the world after realizing the power of laughter therapy. The first laughter club was established by a Mumbai physician Dr Madan Karatia, in 1995. Now the number of laughter clubs has exceeded 6000 spread over 60 countries and going strong.
So why not use laughter therapy instead of dolling out hard earned money to buy high cost prescription drugs?
Here is some food for thought
“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul”- Yiddish Proverb.