Try to recall the last time you had a really good laugh, I mean a rip-snorting, gut-buster of a laugh. How did you feel after-words? That’s an easy one, YOU FELT GREAT! Laughter therapy is quickly becoming a commonly accepted modality in modern healthcare. Here are just a few benefits of laughter therapy:
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s “feel good” chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing as well as relieving pain.
- Laughter decreases cortisol, a powerful stress hormone, as well as increasing infection-fighting antibodies, thus bolstering the immune system.
- Laughter calms the body, relieving stress and relaxing muscles, after a good laugh, the effect can linger up to 45 minutes!
- Laughter strengthens the heart by increasing blood flow and improving the integrity of blood vessels, thus decreasing he probability of a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues.
I think you will find the following “factoid” extremely interesting; People who laugh are much healthier than those who don’t. Dr. Lee Berk at the Loma Linda School of public health in California found that laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds have it best; they laugh an average of 3oo times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day. Lets do the math, if at age six, you laugh 300 times a day and your immune system is at its peak, then you grow into adulthood with a compromised immune system and you only laugh 15
to 100 times a day, what is the solution? Laughter! Uproarious, side-splitting laughter! We have greatly underestimated the healing power of laughter. Part of the reason that laughter was ignored for years in the medical field is simple, it is free, and you don’t have to be trained to administer the therapy.
My favorite “side-effect” of laughter is its contagious nature. Even if you are in the foulest of moods, someone laughing next to you can immediately flip your switch and send you into hysterical laughter! But once again, laughter therapy is nothing new, just sadly overlooked. If we look at the Bible once more, we will find scriptures that confirm a childlike nature, like
Matthew 18: 2.
For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.
Children are simple and they laugh a lot. Adults are complex and they take things a little too serious. I would rather be a healthy simpleton, than a sickly genius! Laughter therapy is mentioned in the Bible? You bet.
Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
The title of this first blog is: Pain Management, No Laughing Matter… or is it? Maybe now you know why. People, who laugh a lot, live a lot. The Bible puts it best: 3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and prosperity, even as your soul prospers.” That is my prayer for you today, dear reader, and I am sure I can speak for everyone at Barton publishing when I say; there are three things you can do to immediately begin the healing process, live, love and laugh… a lot! By the way, since my two favorite modalities for healing are music and laughter, someone who does both would have quite a gift indeed. If you need a jumpstart right now, I highly recommend Tim Hawkins. You can find him on youtube and at: http://www.timhawkins.net Cheers! -M