Laugh your way to better health

Studies have shown that laughter has many medical and psychological benefits.

by Kathy Balland — 

Want to know a fun way to improve your health? Try a little laughter. Studies have shown that laughter has many medical and psychological benefits. Here are 10 of those benefits:

1. Weight management: Laughing 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn an extra 40 calories.

2. Anti-aging: Laughter can make a person feel younger, since it reduces the rate of cellular decay, which slows aging. Additionally, the effects of laughter include better mental function, improving mental alertness, memory and interpersonal responsiveness.

3. Stress relief: Laughter reduces cortisol, a hormone that causes stress, and increases endorphins, which make a person feel happy. Laughter also causes the secretion of an enzyme that protects the stomach from forming ulcers.

4. Immunity: Laughter increases the immune system’s T-cells, which kill invading bacteria that are harmful to the body. During flu season, laughing can increase the number of antibodies in saliva, which combat upper respiratory infections. Generally speaking, laughter helps the body fight infection.

5. Circulation: Laughter improves blood vessel function, reducing blood pressure and heart rate, enhancing blood oxygen levels and boosting circulation.

6. Cancer-fighting: Since cancer thrives in an oxygen-depleted body, laughter is important in combating cancer.

7. Pain management: Laughter releases endorphins, providing natural pain relief.

8. Diabetes: Laughter has been linked to reduced blood sugar levels after meals in individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

9. Breathing: Laughter aids ventilation and helps clear mucus plugs, which improves respiratory function for those suffering from conditions like emphysema.

10. Exercise: Laughing can be considered an exercise, since it conditions the abdominal muscles. It also can help relax the muscles throughout the body.

One way to help others with their mental and physical health is to tell a good joke. A simple change of perspective through laughter can reduce stress, help a person feel younger and more positive, boost their immune system and provide a host of other natural benefits.


Kathy Balland is a certified hypnotherapist and a transformational life coach, who helps people to reach their goals through private sessions and with her CDs. or 480-688-3924.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 4, August/September 2007.

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