Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Best Medicine

We've all heard the saying "Laughter is the best medicine," but now it's scientifically proven! According to Dr. Lee Berk of the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California, laughter strengthens the immune system and lowers levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine.

After a bout of laughter, blood pressure drops to a lower, healthier level than when the laughter began.

Dr. William Fry of Stanford University found that "twenty seconds of guffawing gives the heart the same workout as three minutes of hard rowing."

Another year-long study of heart attack victims done at the Oakhurst Health Research Institute in California found that of those who spent half an hour a day watching comedy videos, 10 percent had a second heart attack, whereas 30 percent of those who did not watch had a second attack.

Since laughing is something people can do sitting down, costs no money, and requires no special exercise equipment or skill, it's the perfect workout for anyone who doesn't have the time or desire to participate in a regular fitness program.

So here's a tip for the next time you feel stressed and need a wellness break. It's called the Smile Time-Out. Take a deep breath, smile, exhale, and say "Aaah" while visualising all your muscles and cells smiling. Then add to that a memory of a time you felt really good and laughed and laughed. Remember, even when you fake a smile or laugh, you get the same physiological benefits as when it's the real thing, because your mind is smart, but your body is stupid and can't tell the difference!

About the Author:

David Granirer gives laughter in the workplace presentations for hundreds of organizations throughout North America. For more information on his presentations, stand-up comedy, products, and articles call (604) 205-9242 or go to

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