Laughter and Your Health

Armen Hareyan's picture

These days much is being written about the numerous benefits of laughter to personal health and how laughter can be the best medicine. Laughing may build healthy blood vessels, help arteries and boost blood flow. Even hospitals now use laughter to enhance cancer treatment.

Yesterday, on March 7, at the Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology were shown the results of a study on how beneficial laughter is for personal health. The study - conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center - suggests for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels and that laughing out loud causes the inner lining of blood vessels to relax, increasing the flow of blood.

The researchers came to this conclusion by using laughter-provoking movies to gauge the effects of emotions on cardiovascular health. 20 non-smoking, healthy volunteers, who had normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels participated in this study.

"Given the results of our study, it is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," says principal investigator Michael Miller, M.D. "At the very least, laughter offsets the impact of mental stress, which is harmful to the endothelium."


According to Dr. Miller the magnitude of change is similar to the benefit one might see with aerobic activity, but without the pains and muscle tensions associated with exercise. While the findings are very impressive, Dr. Miller's study was not able to determine why is laughter causing these benefits. "Perhaps mental stress leads to a breakdown in nitric oxide or inhibits a stimulus to produce nitric oxide that results in vasoconstriction," says Dr. Miller.

Renting comedy movies or getting them from your local library may be really good for your help and keep you away from a doctor.


Copyright 2005