Laughter: The Heart Healthy Way

Essay by anbartonHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2007

download word file, 4 pages 5.0 1 reviews

In Chamfort, Maximes et pensées, Sébastien-Roch Nicolas said, “The most wasted day of all is that in which we have not laughed.” To many this may seem like a trivial thing to say, there are, after all, much more important things to worry about, like fighting disease. Long ago laughter was just an expression of joy or happiness. It was also often used to fill those awkward moments when one isn’t sure how to respond to a comment. However, as the world grows in technology, laughter has evolved as well. Recent studies show that laughter may be more beneficial then we realize; it may even be an important tool to fighting the illnesses that often engulf so many of our lives. More than just an expression of joy, laughter improves blood circulation, decreases the level of stress hormones, and helps the body fight illnesses.

One important aspect of laughter is its effect on one’s circulatory system.

Many researchers have managed to show the benefits of laughter on blood circulation. It is agreed by most that while stress slows the blood flow, laughter is able to improve it. In a study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, 20 healthy volunteers were showed two movies, one funny and one stress-inducing. While they watched the movie, researchers tested the volunteers’ blood flow. Blood flow was reduced in 14 of the subjects after the stressful film; after the comedy, improved circulation was noted in 19 of the participants (Tufts 3).

Researchers at the American College of Cardiology put on a similar study. Volunteers watched scenes from humorous movies such as Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary and emotional movies like Saving Private Ryan. They reported that “laughing appeared to cause inner lining of the blood vessels, known as endothelium, to open wider,