8 Health Benefits of Laughter

reposted from www.care2.com

8 Health Benefits of Laughter

by Melissa Breyer

August 23, 2011

Is there anything better than a contagious giggle that you absolutely can’t control? (Ok, maybe not so good in school or church.) Laughter works wonderfully well in the moment, but it also has some surprising long-term health benefits. In the book A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress, and Sharpen Your Wits (Conari Press, 2009), author Sondra Kornblatt explores how laughter can truly make you feel better.

She writes that the new field of gelotology is exploring the benefits of laughter. It was brought to the public’s awareness in Norman Cousins’ memoir Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins found that comedies, like those of the Marx Brothers, helped him feel better and get some pain-free sleep. That’s because laughter helps the pituitary gland release its own pain-suppressing opiates.

What can laughter do?:

Lower blood pressure

Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood

Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles

Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline

Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells

Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.

Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores

Improve alertness, creativity, and memory

Humor and creativity work in similar ways, says humor guru William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University–by creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain.

Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.

So let’s laugh. What makes you laugh? Tell us your favorite funny movie, or how about a good joke?

Related:

7 Laughter Exercises

The Healing Benefits of Laughter

Melissa Breyer

melissa breyer photoMelissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

world laughter day ~ 2010

Entertainment & Lifestyle

Yuk it up at Hardesty Park May 2

4/29/2010 – West Side Leader

By Kathleen Folkerth

Local event marks World Laughter Day

Laughing Club of Northeast Ohio member Craig Tatton is shown in his jester’s hat that he plans to wear for World Laughter Day, which is taking place locally at Hardesty Park May 2 at 3 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Craig Tatton

WEST AKRON — Whether one giggles, snickers or hoots, laughter does a body good.

That will be exemplified at World Laughter Day, which is taking place locally at Hardesty Park May 2 at 3 p.m.

Members of the Laughing Club of Northeast Ohio, which meets every Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cuyahoga Falls Public Library, organize the local event.

“It’s a worldwide event,” said Craig Tatton, a Kent resident and member of the club. “There’s thousands of laughing clubs all over the world, but it’s wide open as far as how you recognize the day. We keep it very simple. But there’s other groups that make it into a festival.”

Tatton said this is the fifth year for the gathering in West Akron. Club founder Carol Bailey Floyd, a West Akron resident, started the club, which initially began meeting at Hardesty Park. Eventually meetings moved to Cuyahoga Falls, which is how Tatton heard about the club.

The point of the club, and World Laughter Day, is to emphasize the health benefits of laughter, Tatton said.

“We say people, mainly adults, don’t laugh enough,” Tatton said. “Somewhere along our lifetime, we laugh less.”

The club and one-day event don’t include jokes or clowning around but instead use laughing exercises that have been developed.

“We form a circle and do exercises that either bring about fake laughter or real laughter,” Tatton said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re faking a laugh or really having a bellyroll laugh. Your body doesn’t know the difference and it will respond to either. If you just go along and do the ‘ha ha ha, ho ho ho,’ you’ll feel the benefit.”

The reason laughing is beneficial is because a body breathes properly when laughing, Tatton added. It’s also a great stress reliever, he added.

There is a science to laughing, he said. Dr. Maden Kataria, of India, created World Laughter Day and laughing clubs. In the United States, Steve Wilson, a mental health educator in Columbus, has taken up the cause and heads up the World Laughter Tour, which serves as a clearinghouse for information and news about therapeutic laughter, according to the Web site www.worldlaughtertour.com.

The Hardesty Park event will last about an hour, Tatton said.

Hardesty Park is located at 1615 W. Market St. For more information about the club or World Laughter Day, contact Floyd at 330-836-4456 or Tatton at 330-612-1944.

 

the first post on a new website

Hi everyone,

Dennis here. I am a member of the Laughing Club of Northeast Ohio. Please feel free to attend one of our weekly one hour meetings at Taylor Memorial Library in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. We meet every Saturday morning from 10 AM to 11 AM, downstairs usually in the Graeffe meeting room. I hope to see you there. 🙂

Here’s an image of last night’s sunset that I grabbed out the window of my car with my trusty little
Panasonic Lumix FP3 camera.

sunset_001