Monday, May 19, 2014

Laughter Is Great Medicine. Here are 4 Ways to Get Your Daily Dose

Laughter has been shown to have quantifiable physiological and psychological benefits.

Laughing girl

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter," says the poet e.e. cummings.

Gelotology (from the Greek root “gelos” meaning “to laugh”) is the scientific study of laughter.

Laughter has been shown to have quantifiable physiological and psychological benefits in both preventative and therapeutic medicine. Physiological benefits associated with daily laughter and humor include improved learning and memory, respiration, circulation, immunity, endorphin production, and decreasing stress hormones. Psychological benefits include reducing anxiety, stress, depression, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving skills; increasing energy, providing a sense of empowerment and control (see the sources below).

Convinced? The next step is to consciously plan laughter into your daily life. Here are some ways to start, based on three types of laughter:

  • Spontaneous laughter: This laughter is triggered by humor, playing, clowning and emotionally contagious settings. Watch a comedy, read funny jokes (http://jokes.cc.com/; pick the category that suits you), get together with old friends and just act silly.
  • Simulated laughter: This laughter is elicited through specific exercises that are offered in therapeutic laughing classes. Consider joining laughter yoga classes (http://www.laughteryoga.org/english).
  • Stimulated laughter: This laughter is typically generated by physical contact and sensory stimulation such as tickling, hugs and massages. Nobody is too old for horseplay.
  • Finally, learn the lingo: This will make you more familiar with and aware of the world of laughter.

Laughter glossary

Now that you know the lingo, use it as a healing tool … and reap its health benefits!

References:

1. Mora-Ripoll R. Laughter techniques for therapeutic use in medicine. OA Alternative Medicine; 1(3):25; 2013

2. Mora-Ripoll R. The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine. Alternative Therapies, 16 (6): 56 – 62; 2010

3. Butler, B. Laughter: the best medicine. Oregon Library association, 11 (1), 2005.

4. Berk, R. The active ingredients in humor: psycho physiological benefits and risks for older adults. Educational Gerontology, 27: 323-339; 2001

— By Mohga Elabbadi, Phd, ND, resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health

FALL 2016
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

Get help decreasing your pesticide exposure without going over budget with the Environmental Working Group's lists of the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean Fifteen."

Keeping your dental hygiene in check is not just about having a nice smile. Your oral health can actually have lasting effects on your overall health.

Salmon and shrimp and snapper oh my! These are just a few of the countless creatures and crustaceans produced by the $78 billion aquaculture industry each year.

Crying isn't just about "letting it all out. Tears have a much wider scope, similar to how we love.

Eating seasonally is great for the environment and the community and your taste buds will be glad you did.

Here are some tips on how to embrace the “barbie” while minimizing detrimental effects on our environment and health.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This is a human test to prevent automated spam submissions. Enter the four-letter 'word' in the image.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.