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November 24, 2009

Sydney Saunders

Laughter: Does it Enhance Your Health? Statistics of Laughter: Did You Know that... Fake Laughing is just as good for you as real laughing; same benefits and health pluses? Laughter Reduces the level of stress hormones in someone’s body like cortisol, and epinephrine? Laughing increases the level of health enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters? Laughing is like an internal workout? It exercises the belly diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works the shoulders, leaving you relaxed afterwards. Laughter brings distraction from bad things like focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions?

The Benefits of Laughter

Health Class

Laughing can bring people together as friends, family, and spouses.

Inside this issue: Table of Contents Did you Know?

1

The Benefits of Laughter

1

Laughter helps Blood Vessels to Function Better

2

How to Use Laughter

2

Experiment: How do you feel after a good laugh?

3

Therapeutic Methods: Laughter

3

Poll: Do you think Laughter is Good for you?

3

When talking about the benefits of laughter; one must prepare themselves for a long, long talk. There are so many benefits of laughter for example there are physical benefits of laughter, mental benefits and even social benefits. The physical benefits of laughter include a boost of immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, muscle relaxation, and heart disease prevention. The Mental health benefits are adding joy and happiness to life, anxiety and fear is eased, stress relief, mood improvement and resilience enhancement. The social benefits of laughter include the strengthening of relationships, the attraction of others to you, enhancement of teamwork, the diffusion

of conflict, and the promotion of group bonding. Additional benefits include the relaxation of the whole body, immune system boosting, the release and trigger of endorphins, and laughter even protects the heart. When referring to the fact that laughter can relax the whole body, it means that; after a good laugh, physical tension and stress is released from the body. This leaves the muscles completely relaxed for up to 45 minutes later. Laughter can boos the immune system too by decreasing stress hormone levels and rapidly increasing immune cells and infection fighting antibodies. When that occurs, the body is naturally increasing its defense system, reducing the amount of possible diseases and sicknesses. Also, when

laughing; endorphins are released. Endorphins are group of peptide hormones found in the brain that act as neurotransmitters and have properties similar to morphine (morphine decreases pain). When the endorphins are released an overall sense of well being occurs and temporarily relieves pain. Laughter protects the heart too. Laughter can improve the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow. This can protect against heart attacks. Over all, there are no down sides to laughter; it improves the body and all of its function s leaving people feeling better than they were, and healthier. Just by laughing a little a day, one will live longer. So go ahead, take some time off, have a laugh, you'll feel better and healthier.


Laughter: Does it Enhance Your Health? Health Class

Page 2

Your sick Jessie!..sick! Sick! Sick!

Laughter helps Blood Vessels to Function Better Dr. Miller, an inspiring doctor, and brilliant man; he conducted the experiment described to the right.

On March 7th, 2005, an inspirational and wondrous discovery was found. Conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center, a medical conduction was performed. Dr. Miller, used laughter provoking movies to discover the effects of emotions on cardiovascular health. It is believed that laughter is linked to healthy blood vessel functions; this is what was trying to be proved in the medical study.

Volunteers were shown movies that produced mental stress. Throughout the movie; their blood vessels developed a potentially unhealthy response that reduced blood flow. This discovery brought forth a link between mental stress and the narrowing blood vessels. The volunteers that were used included 20 non-smoking, healthy volunteers divided into a group of men, and a group of women,

with the average age being 33. Prior to seeing the movie, they didn't eat any food, and were given a divide to measure the blood flow. Everyone recorded having an increase in the blood flow. When showed a movie that provoked laughter, everyone’s blood flow became more relaxed, and slower. This discovery proved that laughter does help blood vessels to function better.

How to Use Laughter As many people know, laughter is a great stress management tool. To get the most out of a good laugh, one should fallow these strategies. Laughter is found commonly when people watch movies and/or TV, however when watching a movie or a show, be cautious that what you are watching is not stressful. Another great tip to get the best out of laughter is getting

together with friends. Friends can bring out the best in people. Jokes, stories, and events are discovered when hanging with friends, and from theses, laughter can be achieved. Another strategy to bring laughter into your life is just finding it. Finding laughter can be very easy; instead of complaining about life's difficulties and frustration, just laugh tem off. Just bring up the

moment with some of your friends and then just realize the situation’s silliness. There are so many strategies to find humor Caption describing picture or and laughter in graphic. your life and those strategies can help immensely.


Page 3 Experiment: How do You Feel After a Good Laugh?

Smiles are Everywhere

Recently, I set up an experiment to make someone laugh, and then record how they feel after laughing. To set up the experiment, I would show a funny comic (shown to the right) and then notice people’s reaction. The majority response was laughter. The separating the group into those who laughed and didn’t, I would ask them how they felt after laughing. Many of the people responded that they felt healthier, and more alive. Interested by this remark, I asked what make

them feel more alive. The most interesting response form this was “Well, I guess you can say that I feel like I’m going to live longer. When I laugh I feel like there is nothing that can stop me, and I won’t stop laughing until I decide to”. Hearing this made me connect the response to a fact; laughing does and will make someone live longer. The fact that this person somewhat knew this made me brood over the thought that if someone doesn't get a certain amount of laughter a day, what will hap-

pen? Some other responses that I got from people were “I feel sillier after my laugh, and I know that I will giggle when I remember the situation”. This response make me think, if someone laughs just once, that same laughter can last, through other people by explaining the situation, or just remembering what happened. Laughter has no consequences, and it can only bring smiles.

Therapeutic Methods: Laughter Today, many people are har-

nessing the power of laughter; one specific way that the power of laughter is being used is in therapy. For many years, medical staff has recognizes that those patients that have maintained a positive attitude and laugh often, are ones that heal the quickest. Psychological Responses to laughter include increased

respiration, circulation, hormonal digestive enzyme secretion, and a level of healthy blood pressure. People have developed laughter into humor interventions, which are used to promote joy and laughter in patients which in return has positive effects on recovery. An intervention that harnesses the great power of laughter would most likely include yo-yo

demonstrations, guitar playing, water guns, toys, and social opportunities. TR/RT or therapeutic Recreation and Recreation Therapy, are great promoters to laughter induced therapy. They promote various activities to healing, and helping many people.

Poll: Do you Think Laughter is good for you?

“Say..What's a mountain goat doing way up hear in a cloud bank?”

Recently I took a poll, asking people if they think that laughter is good for you. I went around asking people and recorded their responses. The people asked varied from bother genders, and ages varied form eleven to about mid forties. The responses from everyone varied drasti-

cally, but most of the answers leaned to the response “yes, laughter is very beneficial”. There were a few answers that replied basically “I have no specific opinion of whether or not laughing is good”, and there were very few that replied “laughter is bad for you”. Those three answers were the

options for people to answer. So all in all, people thought that laughter was beneficial, meaning they were the most accurate in their answers. From all the studies and research performed, there have been no negative connotations to laughter.


Laughter: Does it Enhance Your Health?

MICDS

Bibliography "AATH Humor Resources: Organizations Exploring Humor and Laughter." AATH - Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.aath.org/ other_organizations.htm>. "About Therapeutic Recreation, Recreation Therapy, and Activity Directors." Therapeutic Recreation Resources for recreation therapy, recreational therapy, and activity directors. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://

Summary If you have grasped anything from this article, it would be the answer to the title of the article. Laughter: Dows it Enhance your Health? yes. Laughter has so many benefits and pluses. Just by laughing once, someone has improved their blood flow, longevity, mood, and body efficiency. So If you are ever in a situation when your feeling sad, laugh about it, hang out with your friends, or even watch a

TV show. There are so many ways that laughter is good for you. Just find them. And remember, laugh a bit.


www.recreationtherapy.com/abouttr.htm>. Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 11, No. 6 (Dec., 2002), pp. 216-220 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of Association for Psychological Science

"The Benefit of Laughter - How Laughter Can Reduce Stress and Increase Health." Stress Management - Stress Information and Resources from About.com. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://stress.about.com/od/ stresshealth/a/laughter.htm>. "The Different Reasons Men and Women Laugh Out Loud: The Neurological Funny Bone | Funny Stuff | Reader's Digest." Funny Jokes, Cartoons, Magazine Articles & Inspiring Stories | Reader's Digest. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.rd.com/cleanjokes-and-laughs/the-different-reasons-men-and-women-laugh-out-loud/article44329.html>. "Humor Therapy, Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter, laughter therapy, Laughter, stress hormones, immune function, T-cells, Gammainterferon, B-cells, endorphins, alternative medicine, integrative medicine." Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Mind-Body Medicine, Herbs, Nutrition. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.holisticonline.com/ Humor_Therapy/humor_therapy_benefits.htm>. "The importance of laughter." WholeFamily. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.wholefamily.com/aboutteensnow/feelings/lighten_up/ laughter.html>. "Laughter as Therapy: The Results are Excellent." Therapeutic Recreation Resources for recreation therapy, recreational therapy, and activity directors. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.recreationtherapy.com/articles/hamilton.htm>. "Laughter: Good For Your Health - WebMD." Women's Health Center: Information on Women's Wellness, Nutrition, Fitness, Intimate Questions, and Weight Loss. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://women.webmd.com/guide/give-your-body-boost-withlaughter>. "Laughter Helps Blood Vessels." University of Maryland Medical Center. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.umm.edu/news/ releases/laughter2.htm>. "Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor." Helpguide.org: Understand, Prevent and Resolve Life's Challenges. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm>. Provine, Robert R. Laughter A Scientific Investigation. New York: Viking Adult, 2000. Print. "Why We Laugh." WebMD Men's Health Center - Find men's health topics and information. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http:// men.webmd.com/features/why-we-laugh>. "Wine.Woot: The Community: Everything But Woot: The Google Image Game." Wine.Woot : One Week, One Wine (SM). Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://wine.woot.com/forums/viewpost.aspx?postid=933031&pageindex=2>.


"World Laughter Tour, Inc. - Contact Us." World Laughter Tour, Inc. - Laughter Clubs, Healing Laughter. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <http://www.worldlaughtertour.com/sections/contact/index.asp>. DEFINITIONS Laughter- the sound or an act of laughing, to make sounds from the throat while breathing out in short bursts or gasps as a way of expressing amusement Endorphins- a substance in the brain that attaches to the same cell receptors that morphine does. Endorphins are released when severe injury occurs, often abolishing all sensation of pain. Neurotransmitters- a chemical that carries messages between different nerve cells or between nerve cells and muscles, e.g. to trigger or prevent an impulse in the receiving cell. Excitatory neurotransmitters trigger a nerve impulse in the receiving cell, while inhibitory neurotransmitters act to prevent further transmission of an impulse. Cortisol- same as hydrocortisone (BIOLOGY) Epinephrine- a synthetic form of adrenaline. Use: to relax the airways and constrict blood vessels.


Laughter Project