Laughter, as a phenomenal mood enhancer, is known to have beneficial physical and psychological effects in a person. Laughter is now being recommended as a therapy, with a session generally comprising pure laughing (without any jokes), combined with stretching and breathing exercises.
Here are some of the benefits of laughter therapy :
Relaxes muscles, releases stress
Laughter is considered one of the best muscle relaxants. It causes the blood vessels to expand, sending more blood all through the body. It also reduces the level of stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol.
Strengthens the Immune System
T cells, which fight infections, become more active when a person laughs. Laughter also increases the immunoglobins A and B. This is significant because immunoglobin A protects the respiratory tract against virus, bacteria and other microorganisms and Immunoglobin B provides antibodies with the strength to attack dysfunctional cells.
Increases Oxygen levels in the body
When a person laughs, he inhales more oxygen, thus leaving the person feeling refreshed.
Is an effective pain killer
Laughter increases the levels of endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Endorphins are considered extremely helpful in reducing pain in arthritis, spondylitis and muscular spasms, and in alleviating migraine and tension headaches.
Improves lung capacity
Laughter is considered helpful for people suffering from bronchitis and Asthma, as it improves lung capacity and increases the oxygen levels in the blood. Patients are, however, advised to consult their doctors before beginning laughter therapy.
Controls blood pressure
Laughter helps control blood pressure by reducing stress related hormones and relaxing the body.
Experiments have proved that there is a drop of 10-20 mm of Hg in blood pressure, after participating in a ten-minute laughter therapy session. Since it is known to increase oxygen supply and improve blood circulation, laughter can control the progress of a heart disease. Laughter also reduces the chances of formation of clots.
Serves as an aerobic exercise
Researchers have found that one minute of hearty laughter is equal to ten minutes on the rowing machine. That is, laughter stimulates the heart and blood circulation like that of any standard aerobic activity. Laughter as an exercise is suited for people with sedentary activities and for those confined to a bed or wheel chair.
Helps in psychological disorders
The benefits of laughter therapy have been observed in patients with depression, anxiety, nervous breakdown, sleeplessness and other psychological disorders.
Is the secret to staying young
Laughter helps in toning up the face muscles and improving facial expressions. When you laugh, you become red (due to the increase in blood supply), which in turn nourishes the facial skin and makes it glow.