How is laughter the best medicine?

Dr. Kevin J. Soden, MD
Family Medicine
Let me start by saying that I strongly believe that "Laughter is the Best Medicine". Reader's Digest has featured a section of the same name for years and include other sections highlighting humor because they are some of the most popular features of the magazine. People understand how important humor is in getting throught the difficulties that life throws at each of us. When we laugh, our brains release something called endorphins that help lower blood pressure and help us relax. Laughter is one of those things that separates from the animal kingdom. One of the key factors that has been found to help people survive difficult situations is a sense of humor and an ability to laugh.
Norman Cousins highlighted the importance of humor in reducing pain in his book about his struggles with ankylosing spondylitis. What we consider funny may be different for each of us but our sense of humor can help each of us survive and prosper.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Laughter has great therapeutic benefit. We have all noticed how a good belly laugh makes us feel better. What many do not realize is that the reactions in our body that occur as a result of laughter have many positive effects. A good laugh can relax your body for almost an hour. It releases endorphins, which are hormones that help us to feel good and give us a sense of well being.  It improves blood flow to the heart and lungs, and boosts our immunity and even helps us to resist infections.

Recognizing the power of laughter, in 1995 an Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria established the first laughter yoga club for his patients. Now there are over 6000 clubs in 60 countries promoting health with laughter all over the world.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.