"" Writer's Wanderings: Take Two Laughs And...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Take Two Laughs And...

In the 10th century B.C. the writer of Proverbs said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” In 2005, a researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center said basically the same thing. Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology released the results of a study showing that laughter may be an important factor in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease leading to heart attacks.

“At the very least,” he said, “laughter offsets the impact of mental stress which is harmful to the [lining of the blood vessels].” Stress causes constriction of the blood vessels.

Dr. Miller is not the first to study the impact of laughter on our health. Dr. William Fry of Stanford’s Medical School has also looked into the impact of laughter’s effects on pulse rates, oxygen levels, and blood pressure. He found that 100 to 200 deep “hee hahs” can benefit your body as much as ten minutes of rowing.

Norman Cousins is one of the pioneers in humor therapy. He suffers from a very painful crippling form of arthritis. He found that watching 30 minutes of funny videos provided him with 2 hours of pain free restful sleep. He documented all his research in a book titled Anatomy of an Illness.

Another advocate of humor therapy is Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams who gained notority by dressing in a clown outfit—red rubber nose and all, to make his hospital rounds. A movie about him came out in 1999 starring Robin Williams. Dr. Adams says, “Joy is more important than any other drug.”

What does all this mean? Have a good laugh. You might find yourself reducing stress and enjoying better health. And don’t be surprised the next time you see your doctor and he tells you, “Take two laughs and call me in the morning."

[http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/laughter.html, http://www.jesthealth.com/art13jnj.html,
http://www.patchadams.org/home.htm ]

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