Laugh Your Way To A Healthy Heart
The sentence “Laughter is the best medicine” is more than just an adage, it can also benefit your heart health. Recent research and studies have provided enough proof that laughter can indeed be a powerful medicine especially for the heart…but how?
Laughter Improves Arterial Compliance
Two studies presented by experts during an annual meeting at the American College of Sports Medicine showed that laughter can greatly reduce the symptoms of stress, which can harm the heart in many ways. The said studies proved that laughter can play a significant role in improving an individual’s blood flow and stave off any signs of high blood pressure.
A group of healthy adults who were asked to watch a comedy film were found to have an improvement in their arterial compliance (i.e. the amount of blood that runs through the person’s arteries within a given period of time). This improvement in the arterial compliance was found to last for 24 hours after the participants watched a comedy film. On the contrary, any decrease in the arterial compliance can prelude the emergence of several heart diseases and high blood pressure.
Laughter Leads to More Blood Vessel Dilation
Another positive discovery about laughter is that those who watched comedy and funny shows were found to have more dilation in their blood vessels, but depressing movies were found to only contribute to the constriction of a person’s blood vessels for as much as 18 per cent – according to Takashi Tarumi who spearheaded the said research. A constriction in the blood vessels can put one at risk of suffering from high blood pressure.
Laughter Increases Healthy Blood Flow
Another research headed by cardiologist Michael Miller at the University of Maryland proved that those participants who watched some funny movie clips showed an increase in their healthy blood flow for as much as 22 per cent. These findings have lead Miller to suggest that those people who are at risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease should take the time and find ways to laugh more often.
- He also added that being light-hearted can improve blood flow as much as cholesterol-lowering drugs and light exercises do, however, these benefits can be reduced or eliminated when a person is exposed to stressful subjects or events that evoke anger or resentment.
Laughter Forces People to Feel Better
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist at the Lenox Hospital in New York City said that laughter forces people to feel better. There is something about laughter that helps lower the levels of stress hormones, reduces the amount of inflammation in the arteries, and increases the levels of good cholesterol.
- The health-enhancing characteristics of laughter is part of the reason why those people who tend to laugh more often and those who always have a positive outlook in life have lowered risks of heart disease.
Laughter Positively Conditions the Heart
Several studies have already proved that sense of humor not only helps people sustain good health but it is also through laughter that even the most seriously ill patient finds much relief from pain. Norman Cousins, the author of the book titled “The Anatomy of an Illness” said that laughter not only reduces the symptoms of depression. It also boosts an individual’s immune system. Another interesting finding that Norman Cousins revealed is that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter provides anesthetic effect that helps people to experience a pain-free sleep.
- Cousins also added that laughter not only allows an internal jog of the muscles in the belly but it also brings about positive cardiac conditioning that can lead to better heart health.
Isn’t it amazing to think that the best medicine for our ailments can only be found in our innate ability to laugh? Laughter may seem to work similarly to prescription medications but the effects of laughter is twice as fast than any other drugs. Add to that you don’t need anything expensive to make you laugh! Plus, there are no bad side effects when you laugh.