Saturday, 27 October 2012

Laughter really is one of the best medicines :)

Hello there!

Those of you who know me know that I am always up for a chuckle but have recently discovered that laughing can also be good for us physically and emotionally.

Care to share the joke missy?? :)
Apart from giving your muscles a fair bit of a workout, laughing unleashes endorphins which help combat stress and are the body's natural painkiller.

One of the most famous studies in laughter was conducted by Dr Lee Berk in California. In 1989, Berk studied the effects of laughter in 10 healthy males. Five experimental subjects watched an hour-long comedy while five control subjects didn't. Blood samples taken from the 10 subjects revealed that cortisol (the hormone our body releases when under stress) in the experimental subjects had decreased more rapidly in comparison to the control group. Berk's research has also shown that the level of natural killer cells (a type of immune cell that attacks virus and tumour cells) is increased through laughter. These same cells are suppressed if the body suffers consistent long-term stress.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have calculated that just 20 seconds of laughter could be as good for the lungs as three minutes spent on a rowing machine.

Children laugh about 400 times a day whereas adults manage a miserable 15, so a little more laughter will not only help us physically but also help us connect with our more creative and playful inner child.

Apparently your body cannot tell real or fake laughter apart, so you can essentially create laughter superficially and still get all the great benefits. Which is how the practise of laughter yoga came about...

Dr Madan Kataria set up the first laughter club in 1995 in Mumbai. There are now more than 5,000 laughter clubs worldwide.
Laughter yoga in action

One of my favourite podcasts, Shrink Rap Radio, interviewed Dr Kataria recently. Give it a listen, what I find funny is that throughout the interview there's lots of laughter and I definitely couldn't help chuckling to myself while I listened (got me some strange looks on the bus let me tell you)!

Shrink Rap radio podcast with Dr Madan Kataria

So just to help you on your way, and for my own personal enjoyment, below are some of my favourite internet videos which will (I hope) guarantee a chuckle!

Till next time,

Take care (and keep warm)!