Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food and Health: Laughter, the Best Medicine?

Laughter, the Best Medicine?

     "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:20), Solomon said. This verse was quoted by Dr. Willie T. Ong in his article in The Philippine Star March 30 issue titled "More Evidence: Laughter is Good Medicine". He said that in a study from the University of California Irvine College of Medicine, the participants who watched a funny video became happier, the levels of depression dropped by 51%, confusion went down by 36%, anger fell by 19%, and fatigue dropped by 15%. Quoting Lee Berk, the lead researcher, he said that watching a funny video can stimulate the body's ability to manage stress and fight disease. He said that science is beginning to prove through many studies, that  laughter could really bring significant benefits to patients and to everyone.

     A while ago, I found out about Laughter Yoga Philippines which advocates that laughter is nature's best and fastest stress buster. They added that it lifts our spirits with a happy high that makes us feel good and improves our behavior towards others. According to ( in their web article titled "The Stress Management & Health Benefits of Laughter", here are the common benefits of laughter:

    1) Hormones  -- laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine 
           (adrenaline), dopamine, and growth hormones. On the other hand, it increases the 
           levels of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. It also 
           increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness 
           of T cells, leading to stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of 

    2) Physical Release  --laughter provides physical and emotional release
    3) Internal Workout -- a good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and 
         even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even 
         provides a good workout for the heart.

    4) Distraction -- brings the focus away from the anger, guilt, stress and negative 
         emotions in a more beneficial way. 

     A question and answer posed by Dr. Ong's article, "Can laughter cure cancer and heart disease? Probably not. But it can certainly lessen the pain of cancer and help our bodies fight off diseases".

    I surmise, then,  that a good "Ha, Ha, Ha!!" a day, keeps the doctor away? So, let's watch funny movies, be amused by jokes, laugh with friends and family. Hey, even Christians should laugh and rejoice all the time. Laughter may not be the best medicine, but it is, really, good medicine.


charmie said...

I love this post, thanks and laugh I usually give to my patient. with their sad and lonely days at old aged home.. at least I can give them a sparkling eyes and beautiful smile..

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