Laughter Medicine - Centenarians laugh easily

laughter medicine boosts our supply of happy hormones, and is a great de-stresser, but did you know that it can also help with comfort eating and utilizing calories too?  Try yoga laugh!

Laughter medicine is way better than drugs.   It's free a free way to keep young, and to achieve healthy longevity.   Something you'll notice about centenarians, those people who live to over 100, is that they have laugh-meters that are easily tripped.  They love to tease, and be teased and come back with sharp comebacks.  They love to banter and they laugh with their whole body.   There are many great reasons to laugh not least of which is because it feels good, but it's also a great way to stimulate your body's biochemistry and is even a fun way to utilize calories.

Laughter, health and longevity go hand-in-hand.  

  • Improving the immune system, partly by increasing lymph circulation;
  • Improving cardiovascular system health (heart, blood vessels and lungs);
  • Giving your muscles, especially core muscles surrounding the internal organs and lungs, a mini-workout;
  • Relieving stress, which has a negative impact on health in many ways. This includes the reduction of destructive hormones that are released during times of stress, and increases the production of hormones and other biochemical substances that are beneficial to health.

These are just a few of the benefits of laughter for physical health.

It enhances our brain chemistry, releasing the feel good hormone, Serotonin. Serotonin is the fuel of our limbic system which is in charge of the emotional center of the brain. How much serotonin we have has a lot to do with how we view our world. When we have sufficient serotonin, we feel optimistic, happy, satisfied, content , fulfilled and it's easier to find reasons to laugh.  

Remember this though:  it is ALWAYS easier to produce laughter medicine when we're with others.  It's difficult to sit on your own and laugh in isolation - yet it comes automatically and easily whenever we're with others.  And - here's what research on longevity tells us for sure:  Your social life and the quality of your relationships are emerging as one of the most important longevity measures there are.  For example, in the longest running longevity at Harvard University (it's covered 75 years and survived 4 directors), a positive relationship at age 50 was a better predictor of health than cholesterol levels.  It really is true that together we live longer and stronger and there is so much more evidence in this CD.

Laughter Medicine burns calories

Researchers think that a good laugh a day helps with weight problems too - if you're weight obsessed finding reasons to laugh might have a double benefit.

Scientists have found that 10-15 minutes of genuine giggling can burn off the amount of calories found in a medium square of chocolate. Laughing releases endorphins that are great for our health.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, recruited 45 pairs of friends and put them in a special room to 'watch movies' so they could measure how much energy the burned depending on the amount of carbon dioxide they exhaled. The first half- hour was of a pretty bland landscape during which baseline measurements were taken. Then participants were given reasons to laugh by viewing five different Cosby show clips interspersed with clips of sheep wandering in the countryside.  Participants burned up 20% more calories when laughing than when they weren’t. Researchers calculated that a person could burn up to 50 calories depending on their body size and the intensity of the laughter.

On average if you find reasons to laugh for 10-15 minutes a day, you’d use enough calories to lose 4.4 pounds (2 kg) a year.

But don’t laugh to lose weight. Laugh because it feels great, laugh because it is a great way of achieving healthy longevity.  Research, conducted at Graz University in Austria, showed that when one group did only movement exercises and another did laughter yoga, it:

• helped people recovering from strokes lower their blood pressure.

• the mood improved in both groups but more noticeably so in the laughter group.

• participants also said they felt “more awake” and “less stressed”.

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