The Best Medicine

Essay by corriejean03College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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The Best Medicine

"Laughter is the best medicine." Although this expression may not be completely factual, the importance of laughter cannot be underestimated (Cyber Sue 1). The many affects that laughter has on the human body, such as decreasing stress hormones, enhancing the immune system, causing muscles to relax, reducing pain, and providing all around great exercise, are effective immediately (Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter 1). If one can manage to bring a sense of humor into daily conflicts, his or her physical health and general well-being can be improved (McGhee 1). Humor is a universal language. It is very beneficial. Humor is free, and it has no known negative side effects. For all of these reasons, one should never pass up the opportunity to get in a good, hearty laugh whenever possible.

Stress causes a body to undergo a series of hormonal and other bodily changes that make up one's "fight or flight" response (McGhee 3).

Even though there is no physical threat to one's life, the body reacts as if there were; if stress occurs day after day, the body continues to prepare itself for a very vigorous physical response that never occurs (3). As all of this builds up in one's body, a threat could be posed to one's health (Glenn, Interview). Laughter reduces at least four of the neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress response: epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and the growth hormone (TBOL 2). Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and can allow a person to forget about pains, such as aches (Cyber Sue 1, TBOL 2). In the U.S., laughter is used as a pain management technique for terminally ill cancer patients (Cyber Sue 1). Patients who are exposed to this method are usually more tolerant of pain than those who are...