A recently concluded yearlong study divided a group of 20 high-risk diabetic patients into two groups. Both groups received the same medications for diabetes--and for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
One of the groups, however, got a supplemental dose of laughter. They were asked to spend 30 minutes every day watching a funny video of their choice.
The results, as described by the researchers, were “surprising and significant.” And I would add, more far reaching than what I could have imagined.
Just the mere anticipation of watching a funny video had the following positive effects among the “laughing” group as compared to the “non-laughing” group (a.k.a, the “control” group):
- 27% increase in beta-endorphin hormones that elevates mood.
- 87% increase in human growth hormone (HGH), which among other things improves immunity.
- 39% decrease in cortisol, a stress hormone that is detrimental to the immune system.
- 70% decrease in epinephrine and a 38% decrease in dopac, both of which have effects similar to cortisol.
After just two months, the laughter group continued to show lower levels of stress hormones, and plus lower inflammation levels. In addition, they also had higher HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
At the end of the year, those lucky laughing folks saw a 26% increase in HDL and a whopping 66% decrease in C-reactive proteins which is a blood marker indication of inflammation. Thus, their risk of dying from heart disease, which is common among diabetics, was greatly reduced as compared to the control group.
The fact that laughter is good medicine if nothing new, of course. The late, great Norman Cousins popularized this concept back in the 70’s with his best-selling book, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient.
However, new scientific evidence that backs this up and provide specifics always serves as a good reminder. So, start laughing.
To read more about the study, click here.