“Researchers have studied laughter’s effects on the body and discovered interesting information on how it affects us. We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure increase and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues.
RELAXATION AND SLEEP
The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin’s memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis — a painful spine condition — found that a diet of comedies helped him feel better.
He claimed that 10 minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.
The effects of laughter and exercise are very similar. William Fry, a pioneer in laughter research, claimed it took 10 minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter.
Laughter burns calories. A study published in 2007 in the International Journal of Obesity measured energy expenditure and heart rate during genuine laughter. The researchers discovered that genuine laughter causes a 10 to 20 per cent increase in energy expenditure and heart rate above resting values. They calculated that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter could increase energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day. One piece of chocolate has about 50 calories, so don’t ditch the morning walk.”
Written by Dr Jacqueline E Campbell – a family physician, university lecturer and pharmacologist.
The full article can be found here