What do you think of laughter therapy?
The elation you feel when you laugh is a great way of combating the physical effects of stress, and can help you to cope with and survive a stressful lifestyle. When we laugh, our body relaxes and endorphins are released into the blood stream. For years, the use of humor has been used in medicine. Surgeons used humor to distract patients from pain as early as the 13th century. Later, in the 20th century, came the scientific study of the effect of humor on physical wellness. Laughter can help you feel better about yourself and the world around you. Laughter can be a natural diversion. When you laugh, no other thought comes to mind. Laughing can also induce physical changes in the body. After laughing for only a few minutes, you may feel better for hours.
Laughter therapy, also called humor therapy, is the use of humor 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 provides a full-scale workout for your muscles and unleashes a rush of stress-busting endorphins. Since our bodies cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter, anything that makes you giggle will have a positive impact. You do not need to be happy or have a sense of humor to benefit from a good laugh. Dr Lee Berk of Loma University Medical Centre, California, has been conducting laughter therapy research since the late 1970s. 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...
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