The health benefits of stenic laughter
A wise alternative
If someone is unable to exercise or does not like sports, the simplest alternative may be to awaken and make wise use of their sense of humour. A healthy laugh can prove to be extremely helpful in maintaining heart health. The practical principle behind this form of yoga can even be summed up in the simple and straightforward advice: "Laugh heartily".
According to recent American studies, healthy, stenic laughter has beneficial effects on heart activity. The results of two studies presented at an annual conference of the American College of Cardiology in Orlando, Florida, by American researchers show that laughter has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, almost as much as exercise and sport. "Laughter therapy has become a serious topic that has begun to be frequently addressed at the most recent cardiology congresses," says Dr Thierry Leperche, a doctor at the Saint-Denis Cardiology Centre.
Healthy, stenic laughter relieves high blood pressure, produces an intense and pleasant massage of the internal organs, dynamises and tones the diaphragm muscle, ensures better oxygenation of the blood and tissues, contributes to the production of norepinephrine, thus leading to a broad state of well-being.
Laughter therapy improves immunity as it enhances T-lymphocyte and immunoglobulin activity, improves sleep quality, improves serotonin levels and confers a state of pleasant sensory stimulation, toning and de-tensioning.
The synthesis of studies and research by Drs Lee Berk and Madan Kataria of Loma Linda University in California, together with Dr Henri Rubinstein of the University of Neuchâtel, provides a list of important benefits that have been found to be effective with laughter therapy.
Thus, it has been concluded that laughter confers happiness, regulates breathing, strengthens the immune system, combats negative thoughts and thus promotes the production of dopamine, a natural substance that is nicknamed "the hormone of happiness, well-being and pleasure".
An anti-stress remedy
Stenic laughter repairs point by point all that stress has disturbed or perhaps even destroyed in our being. Laughter therapy is a genuine anti-stress yoga practice. In recent times it has been shown that laughter therapy is a genuine anti-stress remedy. Numerous studies have proven the beneficial effects of healthy laughter in relieving stress and have also shown its effectiveness in combating its manifestations.
In a normal state, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems of the being are in balance, but in case of stress the balance is lost and a predominance of sympathetic nervous system activity occurs. Laughter restores balance because it tips the balance in favour of parasympathetic nervous system activity.
As a result, a state of deep relaxation occurs in the being, in which the muscles relax, the heart rate decreases, blood pressure drops, breathing and digestion are regulated. These beneficial effects are long-lasting and persist long after a good laugh.