The Power of Laughing
- Posted on: Jun 28 2009
Hello again….time really does fly! Between taking care of my family and our wonderful patients, filming a video, as well as lecturing in Las Vegas and Hawaii ( mostly work folks) and assuming my new role as President Elect of the AACD, I’ve had a full plate for someone who is trying to diet. For the many who have enjoyed the insights and insider information into dentistry and anti-aging, I promise to catch up as well as get back on schedule .
Recently, I came accross a terrific article in Scientific American that shows psychological and medical evidence demonstrating the benefits of smiling. It has been well known in the literature from Norman Cousins, as well as Sigmund Freud, that humor relaxes you when you are anxious and makes you psychologically more resilient. However, there has been no scientific evidence to show improvements in curing disease. New research is showing a better correlation. According to the article, “laughter does produce short-term changes in cardiovascular function and respiration, boosting heart rate, respiratory rate and depth, as well as oxygen consumption.” Furthermore, the article reports that laughing at a funny film or TV show demonstrates a decrease in blood concentrations of “cortisol” which is well known for increasing LDL ( the “bad” cholesterol) and weakening the immune system.
In addition, in a recent study by researchers , Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist, of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, has paired with Stanley Tan, MD, PhD, an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Oak Crest Health Research Institute, Loma Linda, CA. After prescribing a daily “dose” of humor–30 minutes of a funny sitcom or video–to diabetes patients ( who were standardly medicated) and not doing so with a control group , they are reporting 26% increase in HDL levels ( “good” cholesterol) and a 66% decrease in C-reactive protein -both well known markers in heart disease. The control group showed only 3% and 26% improvements respectively. Given the strong relationship of cardiovascular problems with diabetes, they are anticipating the use of humor in creating enhancements in the care of both diseases from an emotional and biochemical point of view.
What a difference it would make if laughter could be used to prevent and treat two of the biggest killers in our society!
It’s exciting to know that there are plenty of healthy medical reasons to smile. Could this be a small key to the fountain of youth? It is starting to look that way.
By the way, if you need some humorous reasons to laugh , go watch a funny movie or an old rerun of the Honeymooners or Seinfeld. Also, there is great article on the Art of Smiling by Tina Su , who has a great blog worth subscribing to.
Of course, if you or a friend need some help with your smile or your giggle, the Flax Dental team is always at your service. According to he latest research, it could help save your life.
Keep smiling right,
Posted in: Mouth Body Connection