There is an age old adage that we all grew up hearing that tells us that “Laughter is the best medicine.” While we know that laughter makes us feel better and relieves a great deal of stress at times when we need it the most, it has come to light in recent years that there is scientific proof that laughter is healing and a ‘natural’ medicine for many ills that we face.
WHAT MEDICAL AUTHORITIES HAVE TO SAY ABOUT LAUGHTER
According to the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, there has to date been insufficient studies on the exact reasons why laughter promotes better health but it has been widely observed in clinical setting after clinical setting. In fact, the benefits of laughter have been so widely accepted that there are even laughter clubs being set up around the nation to promote healing. Yoga laughter is a big one at the moment that is trending, but the one thing that is warned about is self-proclaimed gurus who advise against traditional and alternative medicines which have actual biological effects on the body.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICATIONS NOW RECOGNIZED BY THE AMA AND FDA
At the moment, cannabis has been legalized in some form in 28 states plus the District of Columbia. That is more than half the nation and many of those states have ‘medical marijuana’ laws. There is something uplifting about cannabis and many scientists and medical researchers feel that it is the THC content that is a form of stimulant that creates a happy, sometimes euphoric feeling. There is still much conjecture and a good deal of research as to why marijuana makes you laugh, but the one thing that is for certain, it really does make the majority of users happy enough to break out into boisterous laughter.
WHAT NORMAN COUSINS WROTE 30+ YEARS AGO
It has been more than three decades since Norman Cousins wrote his now famous article that was published in the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine. In the article, he spoke of being given a hopeless diagnosis and so he ordered funny movies and comedies to be brought into his hospital room. He laughed so long and hard that there was a surprising healing effect and doctors were actually amazed at his progress. Was it laughter? Nothing else changed in his treatment so that is the only conclusion which could be drawn based on his state of health before and after that prolonged period of comedic relief.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a big part of what keeps many disease-free over the course of their lifetimes, but a big part of a healthy lifestyle is a reduction in stress. Laughter has been proven to relieve the symptoms of stress in our bodies, reducing blood pressure, slowing erratic heartbeats and causing us to breathe slower and steadier. Whether or not it can be scientifically proven beyond a shadow of a doubt at this point in time, there is a healing power of laughter which is worth more than gold.