Laughter as Medicine
Laughter, just like healthy food, exercise, restorative sleep, meditation and connection, is a vital healing and wellness tool. Laughter as medicine was made most well-known by Dr. Patch Adams in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it still has remained a largely underutilized remedy. Over the years there has been more research done in the field of gelotology, the study of laughter.
At an international conference organized by Diabetes India last summer, Dr. V.V. Ramkumar gave a presentation on how laughter therapy is beneficial for regulating blood sugar. The many physiologic health benefits of laughter translate to other health concerns and maintaining wellness. It can be a fun approach to life and health for everyone.
Research shows that laughter can improve immunity, vascular tone and high blood pressure, and directly decrease blood sugars after eating. Laughter also calms the stress “fright, flight, fight” effect of stress hormone. This not only helps with anxiety, but also decreases insulin resistance.
Individuals that laughed more than once per week had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Those that laugh more also were found to have more self-compassion. Studies suggest that based on this scientific evidence, laughter therapy should be part of diabetes or other chronic disease self-management education.
Maybe it doesn’t have to be that formal. Begin by choosing smiling and laughing. Watch a funny movie or funny animal videos. Look at childhood pictures of yourself and loved ones. Lighten your heart into childlike play or just laugh for the health of it with laughter yoga. It may start out as forced, but once it gets going the laughter keeps flowing naturally. Laughter is contagious, so grab a friend and take a good dose together.
How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? - answer below
Have more time now for a laugh? - try out laughter yoga!
Answer - Ten Tickles