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Humour & Hospitals

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Laughter really is good medicine! Take a look at these studies ..

In 1928 Dr James Walsh noted that laughter reduced post-operative pain & promoted wound healing.
In 1969, Norman Cousins, collaborating with his physician Dr. Hitzig, found humour relieved the pain of his ankylosing spondylitis. There was physiological evidence in his lower sedimentation rate. The reduction not only held, but was cumulative. Ten minutes of laughter gave him two hours of pain-free sleep.
William Fry in 1971 first demonstrated that laughter increases the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, & works the muscles in the face & stomach. Shortly after, these levels drop, providing a relaxation response.
Young girls with burns were shown cartoons during very painful hydrotherapy. Their perception of pain was reduced. (ML Kelly, Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis 1984.)
Women with painful muscle disorders got significant pain relief after a course of humour therapy. (L Ljungdahl, JAMA 1989).
Significantly lower allergic responses of study participants. Researchers are not sure why laughter may alleviate allergic symptoms. However, laughter reduces stress, tension & anxiety, which may help strengthen the immune system. (Effect of humour on allergen-induced wheat reactions, H. Kimata, JAMA 2001)
Michael Miller, University of Maryland Medical Centre, presented results of a study in March 2005 showing that laughter relaxes arteries & boosts blood flow.
L. Berk, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, demonstrated that laughter lowers serum cortisol levels, increases the number of T-cells that have helper/suppressor receptors, & increases the number & activity of natural killer cells. The positive effects of laughter on the immune system continued the next day, with levels of plasma immunoglobulin, plasma cytokine gamma interferon & killer cells remaining high 12 hours later.
Abdominal movements were measured during funny videos & documentaries. Laughter was followed by a long sigh & a large intake of breath, leading to better respiratory movement. (Dr David Garlick, University of NSW School of Physiology & Pharmacology)
A recent study indicated that people with a good sense of humour & a propensity to laugh may be less likely to develop heart disease compared to people who possess antisocial, type A personalities. Meeting stressful situations with a sense of humour may be particularly relevant to heart health.
Laughter may help to control spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal. People in a study who watched a funny video during dinner had lower blood sugar levels after the meal compared to the people who watched a lecture video during dinner. Laughter lowered the increase in postprandial blood glucose. Keeping blood sugar levels stable will help to ward off diabetic complications.

Red-nosed doses of happiness!