laughter

Laughter is good medicine for reducing stress, enhancing brain chemistry

Thursday, April 28, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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How do you actually reduce the levels of chronic stress in your body and enhance your lifespan, boost immune system function, protect your nervous system and your sanity, and give your endocrine system a much-needed rest? Fortunately there are several easy ways to do this. Let's start with the easiest one: laughter.

Laughter is a healing activity. You may have seen the movie called "Patch Adams," which is a movie about a real life doctor who still practices today and uses laughter as healing. He's quite correct in using laughter as a healing therapy, because it is one of the most healing activities in which you can engage.

Laughter operates on at least three different levels. They are the biophysical, the biochemical, and the bioenergetic levels.

Laughter moves lymph and oxygenates your organs
At the biophysical level, laughter moves lymph fluid around your body simply by the convulsions you experience during the process of laughing; so it boosts immune system function and helps clear out old, dead waste products from organs and tissues. Remember that your lymph system doesn't have a separate pump; your body needs to move around to properly circulate lymph fluid so that your immune system can carry out its natural functions. Laughter is a great way to support that.

Secondly, laughter increases oxygenation of your body at both the cellular and organ level. By laughing, you intake vast amounts of oxygen in huge gulps, and you repeat this process in a sort of temporary hyperventilation session. This is the natural result of laughter, and if you watch someone laugh, you will notice these biophysical effects.

Now, why is oxygen so good for your body? Oxygen is one of the primary catalysts for biological energy in the human body. Remember, we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, so oxygen is an element of intracellular energy that's absolutely necessary to sustain human life.

It's also interesting to note that cancer cells are destroyed in the presence of oxygen. In fact, many parasites and bacteria don't survive well in the presence of oxygen, and to the extent that you can circulate extra oxygen throughout your body, you can help prevent, or in some cases treat, these diseases.

This is one reason why we see an increasing number of so-called "oxygen bars" in the United States and other countries. People enjoy going to these bars and breathing a much higher concentration of oxygen, because they say it gives them greater mental clarity. They like the feeling of this extra oxygen: it's almost like that "natural high," as they say. Now, personally, I've tried this myself and I didn't notice any effect whatsoever. But it could be because my body is able to carry oxygen so efficiently in the blood that I'm already experiencing peak oxygenation and didn't get any extra benefit from a higher concentration in the air I was inhaling. But, who knows? You might experience a benefit or I might have been at a lousy oxygen bar. But the point is, oxygen is good for you, and when you laugh, you get more oxygen into the cells of your body. If you can laugh at an oxygen bar, that's even better!

Laughing also boosts circulation, so at the same time that you're distributing oxygen around your body, you're boosting the circulation of your blood; you're exercising abdominal muscles; you're exercising the muscles of your face; and you're enhancing the flexibility of various joints throughout your body. So it's a bit of physical exercise and healthful body movement as well.

The harder you laugh, the greater this effect. If you can find a way to put yourself into a state of rolling, outrageous laughter, you're going to get a fantastic physical workout from it. In fact, the next day, you may even find your stomach muscles are sore. Have you ever laughed so hard that your stomach hurt and your facial muscles were exhausted? That's some serious exercise, and it's the kind of exercise in which we should all engage on a regular basis.

The chemistry of laughter
Now let's look at the biochemical impact of laughter. When you laugh, there's a lot more going on in your body than just the physical effect. You're also experiencing a biochemical benefit.

Your body manufactures chemicals based on certain needs and then distributes them throughout your body. When you laugh, you generate a wealth of healing biochemicals. I've often stated that for every minute of laughter, you produce somewhere around $10,000 worth of healthy body chemistry, and what I mean is that if you had to go out and actually purchase these refined chemical compounds from labs or pharmaceutical companies, you would have to pay at least $10,000 for the very same chemistry that your brain is producing free of charge when you engage in laughter.

Some of these are brain-altering chemicals such as serotonin; others are immune-boosting chemicals such as interleukins. If you were to make a long list of all the chemicals created by engaging in healthy laughter, you would have quite a list of healthy body chemicals that would carry a hefty price tag if you purchased them retail. And yet, once again, you can create these chemicals for yourself at no cost by simply engaging in laughter.

You will find that these chemicals have extraordinary positive healing effects on your body and mind. They will boost immune system function; they will improve your outlook on life; they will tend to diminish any symptoms of depression; and because they help reduce stress, they will also prevent all of the various diseases and disorders that are caused by chronic stress.

In other words, laughter can help counteract the destructive, negative health consequences of chronic stress. And what I've described here just scratches the surface of the benefits that are available to those who engage in regular laughter. Check out the science field called psychoneuroimmunology to learn more on this. It's a fascinating specialty that looks at the link between the mind and immune system function. What researchers have found in this field is that your state of mind has everything to do with the functioning of your immune system. By engaging in laughter, you can boost both your mind and your body.

But what if you can't find anything to laugh about? Rent some funny movies. Join a comedy improv class. Imagine all your older friends wearing no clothes. Buy some silly finger puppets and invent a funny skit. Learn from children: they still know how to play and laugh. Find a way to get laughter into your life, even if it means being a little weird.

This article is a content segment from the book, the Five Habits of Health Transformation by Mike Adams. The book covers the five most effective, yet effortless strategies for enhancing health. Written for busy people, it explains how to get the greatest health results possible with the least investment in time, money or effort.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he is well known as the creator of popular downloadable preparedness programs on financial collapse, emergency food storage, wilderness survival and home defense skills. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams launched TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including NaturalPedia.com and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org

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