Laughter is Good Medicine

Do you remember the last time you had a really good laugh? Both the mind and body can benefit from a good laugh.

Children laugh so often each day, but adults tend to take life more seriously and laugh more infrequently.

Here are just some of the examples showing the benefits of laughter.

  1. Blood pressure- Initially, a hearty laugh can cause blood pressure to rise, but then it decreases to below average levels and stays there.
  2. Hormones- Laughter reduces at least four stress hormones including epinephrine, cortisol, dopamine, and growth hormone.
  3. Immune system – Laughter increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
  4. Brain function- Laughing keeps the brain alert and enhances learning by stimulating both sides of the brain and easing muscle tension and psychological stress.
  5. Respiration- Belly laughter is similar to deep breathing. This allows more oxygen-enriched blood and nutrients to enter the body.
  6. Heart health- Laughter improves blood vessel function and increases blood flow.
  7. Good workout- Laughter provides good cardiac, abdominal, facial, and back muscle conditioning.

In addition to all of this, laughter can be very important to mental and emotional health. It can lift our mood, lower stress, help us forget our pains and problems, and improve our relationships with others.

If you need a physical or mental boost, try a good laugh.


Fry W, Savin W. Mirthful laughter, and blood pressure. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 1 (1): 49-62

Berk L, Tan S, Fry W. Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laughter. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 298 (6).

Fry W, Rader C. The respiratory components of mirthful laughter. Journal of Biological Psychology, 19 (2): 39-50.

Miller M, Fry W. The effect of mirthful laughter on the human cardiovascular system. Medical Hypotheses, 2009; 73 (5): 636-639.

Clark A, Seidler A, Miller M. Inverse association between sense of humor and coronary heart disease. International Journal of Cardiology, 2001; 80 (1): 87-88.

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