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Laughter And Cardiovascular Health

Jun 9, 2008
Laughter is the best medicine. We've all heard that. If not the best, certainly good for you. Scientific studies have shown that mental stress can restrict blood flow to the heart. But now a study has linked laughter to increased blood circulation. Laughter appears to cause the tissue inside blood vessels to expand. Medical science feels that laughter may be important to increase your hearth health

The University of Md. recently conducted a study of twenty healthy adult males and females. To make them laugh, they watched part of the movie "Kingpin," a 1 hour comedy. To create the opposite emotions, they also watched the "Saving Private Ryan, dramatic war scene at the beginning of the movie.

Clinical researchers utilized ultrasound technology to measure changes in blood flow through an artery in the arms of participants. Blood flow increased in 19 of the 20 participants after watching "Kingpin." which is a twenty two percent increase. The study leader, a Dr. Miller feels that is similar to the effects of aerobic movement. Blood flow decreased in fourteen of the twenty people after they watched "Saving Private Ryan." That is a 35% average decrease.

Research shows that reducing stress can reduce disease in the body. When the body is under stress, it produces hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. Cortisol is related to anxiety and fearfulness and adrenalin gives us us the "fight or flight motivation. Too much of these hormones can be harmful. Dr Miller observed that the study could not explain how laughter is responsible for the effects observed. Is it from muscle movement or chemical release?

The researchers say laughter may cause the body to release endorphins, like when exercise takes place. Miller states that these endorphins may block the effect of stress hormones and cause the blood vessels to expand. Laughter may also influence the release of nitric oxide, which too expands blood passages. The results were presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Miller does not suggest to replace exercise with laughter, but he says fifteen minutes of laughter could help one's health considerably.
About the Author
Rick London founded the most popular Internet Cartoons, Londons Times Cartoons and several e-stores featuring them on gifts. CLICK HERE TO VISIT A STORE
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