So, after smiling all day yesterday, let’s move onto LAUGHING!!!!
When was the last time you laughed until your side hurt from laughing… and not because of your typical aches and pains? Laughter is a natural medicine. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Laughter is a contagious emotion. It can bring people together. It can help us feel more alive and empowered.
I have happy moments and time with friends in which I feel joyful, but I also must admit that I laugh much less than I once did. Illness has a way of aging us much too soon. It makes us too serious at times, because we have to think about how everything will affect our body.
Laughter therapy, also called humour therapy, is the use of humour to promote overall health and wellness. It aims to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort. Laughter has been shown to cause multiple physiological changes that may be beneficial to those of us with fibromyalgia. In a recent report, alternative health experts today tout laughter therapy as a mode of healing any disease from a mild fever to even cancer. It has been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. Although laughter therapy has not been studied specifically for FM, researchers are uncovering more about laughter in general and in painful conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of Laughter
Laughter therapy has been described as great way to relax and de-stress terminally ill patients and those suffering from chronic illnesses. Laughter Yoga is one such exercise that works on changing the physical, emotional and mental state simultaneously thereby bringing a positive outlook towards life and circumstances. A good laugh exercises the lungs and circulatory system and increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. The huge therapeutic value of laughter can turn your life and health around. According to some studies, laughter therapy may provide physical benefits, such as helping to:
- Boost the immune system and circulatory system
- Enhance oxygen intake
- Stimulate the heart and lungs
- Relax muscles throughout the body
- Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)
- Ease digestion/soothes stomach aches
- Relieve pain
- Balance blood pressure
- Improve mental functions (i.e., alertness, memory, creativity)
Laughter therapy may also help to:
- Improve overall attitude
- Reduce stress/tension
- Promote relaxation
- Improve sleep
- Enhance quality of life
- Strengthen social bonds and relationships
- Produce a general sense of well-being
Great side effects for something that is free and readily available without a prescription! Many of the things in that list are either known or believed to be involved, to varying degrees, in many FM cases.
Most illnesses today are stress related and chronic stress attacks the immune system and makes us vulnerable to infections, virus attack and cancer. In fact, this is a major motive for people taking to Laughter therapy.
People practicing Laughter therapy regularly report amazing improvement in their health as well as a more positive mental attitude and higher energy levels. The first thing participants say is that they don’t fall sick very often; the frequency of normal cold and flu reduces or even disappears. There are daily reports of partial or total cure of most stress-related illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, depression, asthma, arthritis, allergies, stiff muscles and more. While this sounds fantastic, it all makes perfect sense, as laughter is nature’s best cure for stress.
Scientific research by Dr Lee Berk from Loma Linda University, California proved that laughter strengthens the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells and increase in the antibodies. The immune system is the master-key of health and if it weakens one is exposed to constant infection and sickness.
Laughter Therapy For Reducing Stress
Stress and depression are two major components of ill health. Most health benefits people get are because they are able to manage physical, mental and emotional stress with Laughter Therapy exercises. Once the stress levels are down, the immune system becomes stronger automatically.
Laughter Therapy As An Exercise
Dr. William Fry, a research scientist from Stanford University scientifically proved that 10 minutes of healthy laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter is the best cardio workout. As an exercise it has similar benefits as compared to any other aerobic activities like jogging, dining swimming and cycling.
Laughter Therapy And Role Of Oxygen
Dr Otto Warburg, German scientist and Nobel Laureate said that the main reason we fall sick is because there is lack of oxygen in the body cells. Laughter brings more oxygen to the body and brain. A good supply of oxygen is the key for maintaining good health as well as healing a variety of illnesses.
Laughter Therapy For Depression
Depression is the number one sickness in the world and millions of dollars are spent on producing antidepressant drugs. Laughter therapy is extremely therapeutic for depression as it helps to release certain neurotransmitters from the brain cells as well as help people to stay connected and share their feelings and emotions.
Laughter Therapy For Mental Health
A major causal factor of many illnesses is a person’s inability to express their feelings and emotions. People are afraid of reactions and conflict. As a result they suppress and hold their emotions which ultimately affect the immune system adversely leading to a variety of sickness. Laughter therapy is a cathartic exercise which helps people release their blocked emotions in a non-violent way and makes them emotionally balanced. Bangalore research indicates that laughter also helps to increase positive emotions and decrease the negative ones thereby promoting a healthy life.
Possible Drawbacks of Laughter (did you ever think you’d hear that?)
Some people with fibro say that laughter can trigger post-exertional malaise – a major upswing in symptom severity after exertion. A long, hard laugh could lead to increased pain, especially if the muscles involved are deconditioned. However, this tendency may be countered by the endorphin release and other changes that are similar to the effects of exercise.
A rare side effect of laughter is brief episodes of syncope (fainting), likely due to laughter-induced changes in the autonomic nervous system leading to reduced blood flow to the brain. It’s unknown whether the autonomic dysregulation and blood-flow abnormalities of FM could increase this risk.