Laughter is The Best Medicine

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Funny scenes relax walls of blood vessels

Laughter is not just a spontaneous expression to a funny situation, it makes blood vessels work more efficiently, suggest US researchers. A study presented at the meeting of American College of Cardiology in Orlando, Florida, shows that a hearty laughter has an effect on the lining of blood vessels (endothelium) which is similar to the benefit found in aerobic exercises. And more importantly, it doesn?t cause the pain or muscular tension that are often associated with a session of exercise.

According to Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who presented the study, laughter does exactly the reverse of what emotional stress does?making them constricted?to the endothelium.

To test the effect of laughter on blood vessels Miller and his colleagues showed two movies?one funny and the other depressive?to 20 healthy people and tested the function of their blood vessels. The researchers specifically looked at the endothelium and found an impeded blood flow in 14 out of 20 volunteers, after the stressful movie. On the contrary, blood flowed smoothly in 19 out of 20 people after they enjoyed the funny movie.

Miller?s speculation is that laughing affects the blood vessels either through the movement of the diaphragm (muscular partition between thorax and abdomen in the chest) or releasing of chemicals like endorphin which are involved in coping with acute stress. According to Miller, 15 minutes of laughter every day can be helpful for heart.

Three More things that laughter can do :
1. Laughter during dinner can help combat type 2 diabetes, a study in Diabetes Care suggests. It found that subjects who got involved in laughter, like watching a comedy show, aro-und dinner time had had a lower level of post-meal blood sugar level than their counterparts, who didn’t laugh during that hour.
2. Studies suggest that laughter can effectively lower the level of stress, and those who laugh stay at a significantly lower risk of suffering stress than their counterparts who don’t laugh. Researchers report that laughter reduces the concentration of several hormones like cortisol that results in the development of stress in humans.

3. Studies done by US researcher Lee Berk, a professor of family medicine at the University of California, has shown that laughter can help combat respiratory infections. According to him, laughter causes increased production of an antibody which act as an immune-booster.

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Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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