P.J. Skerret addresses the physical benefits of laughter in the Harvard Health Blog:
“From brain scans and other tests, neuroscientists are compiling evidence that laughter triggers chemical responses in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure and a sense of well-being. Laughter also appears to go beyond the belly and the brain—arteries respond to it in healthy ways that could improve blood flow and long-term health.
[…] At the University of Texas, Austin, researchers asked 17 healthy adults to watch a humorous 30-minute video of their choosing or a documentary, with before and after tests of blood flow. The biggest differences between the two groups were in measures of artery function (a test called flow-mediated dilation) and flexibility (the carotid artery augmentation index). These improved immediately in the volunteers who watched a comedy and stayed that way for almost 24 hours. In those who watched a documentary, though, artery function decreased a bit.”
Click here to read the whole article, Laugh and Be Thankful – It’s Good for the Heart.
Additional resources on the subject:
Bennett MP, Lengacher C. Humor and Laughter May Influence Health: III. Laughter and Health Outcomes. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, March 2008.
Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The Effect of Mirthful Laughter on Stress and Natural Killer Cell Activity. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, March-April 2003.
Berk LS, Felten DL, Tan SA, Bittman BB, Westengard J. Modulation of Neuroimmune Parameters During the Eustress of Humor-Associated Mirthful Laughter. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, March 2001.