The Impact of Laughter on the Immune System

Is there truth to laughter is the best medicine?

Laughter to boost the immune system?

Laugh lots and laugh often 

I’m told that I have an infectious, lovely, hearty laugh. While I’m happy to hear that compliment, I didn’t realize how much good laughter was for my health.
Humour triggers a physical response when your brain thinks something is funny. Laughing improves your heart rate, respiratory levels and oxygen consumption. Laughing causes you to take deeper breaths and relaxes muscles. A good hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress leaving you relaxed for up to forty-five minutes. There is evidence laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow to help protect you against cardiovascular problems.
Your body rewards a good laugh with a rush of hormones. Laughter raises DHEA (dehydroephiandrosterone) levels, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. High levels of DHEA is considered by some to be a marker of good health. It has anti-ageing, anti-obesity effects and can enhance mental abilities at the same time.

There is even an immune system response to laughter. To fully understand the connection, we
must first understand the lymphatic system - the backbone of our immune system.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a subsystem of the circulatory system consisting of a complex network of vessels, tissues and organs. It continuously collects waste materials from all over the body (dead blood cells, pathogens and toxins) that are deposited into the tissues via blood capillaries. It then cleans that fluid and returns it back into the circulating blood.
The system helps defend the body against infection by supplying disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes that provide an immune response to infectious organisms and other foreign substances.
Unlike the circulatory system which has the heart to pump the blood in a continuous circle to all parts of the body, the lymphatic system is a simple transport system with no pump. Any muscular movement will stimulate and increase the flow of lymphatic fluid. Laughter is one of the best ways of assisting this flow.

Strong laughter causes the diaphragm to flutter up and down at a very quick rate. This acts as a powerful pump for your lymphatic circulation to shoot lymph up and out through a multitude of lymphatic vessels, increasing the speed and flow up to fifteen times its normal rate of flow. This assists in carrying fluid through your body, helps your lymph nodes to filter it thoroughly, removing waste products, dead cells and microorganisms. More lymph passing through lymph nodes, means that more lymphocytes (T and B-cell lymphocytes and NK cells – the natural killer cells) are produced. An increased number of circulating lymphocytes in the blood means better immunity towards all diseases.
Did you know that laughing for fifteen minutes a day can burn enough calories to lose four pounds over the course of a year which is no laughing matter!

References: Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: November 2019; and Sebastian Gendry. Photos from Pixabay from Pexels
What makes you laugh?

How can you use laughter to lift others up?

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                 Vitamin D: Blog   Video
                 Exercise & Meditation: Video
                 Nutrition: Blog    Video
                 Hydration:  Blog  Video
                 Sleep: Blog    Video
                 Laughter:  Video
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