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Laughter

The Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter

Dr. Lee Berk and his fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California both have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. Their published studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

The following is a summary of his research, taken from an interview published in the September/October 1996 issue of the Humor and Health Journal.

 Laughter Activates the Immune System

In Berk's study, the physiological response produced by belly laughter was opposite of what is seen in classical stress, supporting the conclusion that mirthful laughter is a eustress state -- a state that produces healthy or positive emotions.

Research results indicate that, after exposure to humor, there is a general increase in activity within the immune system, including: 
 
-An increase in the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumor cells.

 -An increase in activated T cells (T lymphocytes). There are many T cells that await activation. Laughter appears to tell the immune system to "turn it up a notch." 

 -An increase in the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin A), which fights upper respiratory tract insults and infections. 

 -An increase in gamma interferon, which tells various components of the immune system to "turn on." 

 -An increase in IgB, the immunoglobulin produced in the greatest quantity in body, as well as an increase in Complement 3, which helps antibodies to pierce dysfunctional or infected cells. The increase in both substances was not only present while subjects watched a humor video; there also was a lingering effect that continued to show increased levels the next day.


 Laughter Decreases "Stress" Hormones

The results of the study also supported research indicating a general decrease in stress hormones that constrict blood vessels and suppress immune activity. These were shown to decrease in the study group exposed to humor.

For example, levels of epinephrine were lower in the group both in anticipation of humor and after exposure to humor. Epinephrine levels remained down throughout the experiment.

In addition, dopamine levels (as measured by dopac) were also decreased. Dopamine is involved in the "fight or flight response" and is associated with elevated blood pressure.

Laughing is aerobic, providing a workout for the diaphragm and increasing the body's ability to use oxygen.

Laughter brings in positive emotions that can enhance – not replace -- conventional treatments. Hence it is another tool available to help fight the disease.

Experts believe that, when used as an adjunct to conventional care, laughter can reduce pain and aid the healing process. For one thing, laughter offers a powerful distraction from pain.

In a study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing, patients were told one-liners after surgery and before painful medication was administered. Those exposed to humor perceived less pain when compared to patients who didn't get a dose of humor as part of their therapy.

Perhaps, the biggest benefit of laughter is that it is free and has no known negative side effects.

So, here is a summary of how humor contributes to physical health.  More details can be found in the article, Humor and Health contributed by Paul McGhee

Muscle Relaxation - Belly laugh results in muscle relaxation. While you laugh, the muscles that do not participate in the belly laugh, relaxes. After you finish laughing those muscles involved in the laughter start to relax. So, the action takes place in two stages.

Reduction of Stress Hormones - Laughter reduces at least four of neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress response. These are epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone.

Immune System Enhancement - Clinical studies have shown that humor strengthens the immune system.

Pain Reduction - Humor allows a person to "forget" about pains such as aches, arthritis, etc.

Cardiac Exercise - A belly laugh is equivalent to "an internal jogging." Laughter can provide good cardiac conditioning especially for those who are unable to perform physical exercises.

Blood Pressure - Women seem to benefit more than men in preventing hypertension.

Respiration - Frequent belly laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect - similar to deep breathing. Especially beneficial for patient's who are suffering from emphysema and other respiratory ailments.

  

Some Medical Humor

Humor is the best medicine, 
so here are some good medical jokes to help you through your day!

 

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A woman told the vet that something was wrong with her dog. He examined the animal and told her the dog was dead.

"I don't believe you", she said, "I'd like a second opinion"

The vet said that would be fine. He went into the other room and got a cat. He put the cat up on the table with the dog. The cat sniffed the dog and jumped down. The vet then got a black lab, put him on the table and the lab sniffed and jumped down.

The vet tells the lady again, "I'm sorry, but your dog is definitely dead. That will be $600 for the exam."

"$600 is ridiculous, what are the charges for?" she exclaimed.

"$600 is a bargain," the vet explained. "$50 for me and only $550 for the cat scan and lab work."

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In the hospital, a patient's relatives gathered in the waiting room, where their family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber. "I'm afraid I am the bearer of bad news," he said as he surveyed the worried faces. "The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It's an experimental procedure, semi-risky, and you will have to pay for the brain yourselves."

The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. At last, someone asked, "Well, how much does a brain cost?"

The doctor quickly responded, "$200 for a female brain, and $500 for a male brain."

The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked. A girl, unable to control her curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, "Why is the male brain so much more?"

The doctor smiled at her childish innocence and then said, "It's a standard pricing procedure. We have to mark the female brains down, because they're used!!!!!!!"

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3 Doctors are at a Convention talking Shop.

The first Doctor says: "I love doing surgery on Artists, they are so colorful: red Hearts, pink Stomachs, green Spleens."

The next Doctor says: "Me, I love doing surgery on Accountants, open them up and all their Parts are numbered, makes it very easy.”

The third Doctor says: "I love doing surgery on Lawyers, they have no Heart, they have no Guts and the Head and the Ass are interchangeable!"

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Doctor: I have some bad news and some very bad news. Patient: Well, might as well give me the bad news first. Doctor: The lab called with your test results. They said you have 24 hours to live. Patient: 24 hours! That's terrible! What could be worse? What's the very bad news? Doctor: I've been trying to reach you since yesterday.

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This old man visits his doctor and after a thorough examination, the doctor tells him, "I have good news and bad news, what would you like to hear first?" Patient: Well, give me the bad news first. Doctor: You have cancer, I estimate that you have about two years left. Patient: OH NO! That's awful! In two years, my life will be over! What kind of good news could you probably tell me, after this??? Doctor: You also have Alzheimer's. In about three months you are going to forget everything I told you.

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Doctor: You're in good health. You'll live to be 80. Patient: But, doctor, I am 80 right now. Doctor: See, what did I tell you.

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A man swallowed a mouse while sleeping on the couch one day. His wife quickly called the doctor and said, "Doctor, please come quickly. My husband just swallowed a mouse and he's gagging and thrashing about." "I'll be right over," the doctor said. "In the meantime, keep waving a piece of cheese over his mouth to try to attract the mouse up and out of there." When the doctor arrived, he saw the wife waving a piece of fish over her husband's mouth. "Uhh, I told you to use cheese, not fish, to lure the mouse." "I know, doc," she replied, "but first I've got to get the darn cat out of him."

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Heard on Jay Leno's monologue: The New England Journal of Medicine reports that 9 out of 10 doctors agree that 1 out of 10 doctors is an idiot.

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A woman in Arkansas brought her baby in to see the doctor, and he determined right away the baby had an ear ache.

He wrote a prescription for ear drops. In the directions he wrote, "Put two drops in right ear every four hours" and he abbreviated "right" as an R with a circle around it.

Several days passed, and the woman returned with her baby, complaining that the baby still had an earache, and his little behind was getting really greasy with all those drops of oil.

The doctor looked at the bottle of ear drops and sure enough, the pharmacist had typed the following instructions on the label: "Put two drops in R ear every four hours."

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The CEO of a large HMO dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter shows him to a lovely villa, wonderful music, great views, full staff of servants, gourmet meals, etc.
The CEO says, "This is terrific!"

"Don't get too comfortable," says St. Peter. "You're only approved for a three-day stay."

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There was once a very prim and proper older lady who had a problem with passing gas. Since she came from a generation when people didn't even talk about this kind of problem it took a long time for her to seek help. Finally, however, she was persuaded to consult her family doctor.

After she filled out all the proper forms and had waited about 20 minutes in the waiting room the doctor called her into his office, leaned back in his chair, folded his hands into a steeple and asked her how he could help.

"Doctor," she said, "I have a very bad gas problem."

"A gas problem?" replied the doctor.

"Yes. Yesterday afternoon, I had lunch with the Secretary of State and his wife and had six, um, er, ahhh...silent gas emissions. Last night, I had dinner with the governor and his wife and had (BLUSH) four silent gas emissions. Then, while sitting in your waiting room I had five silent gas emissions! Doctor, you've got to help me! What can we do?"

"Well," said the doctor thoughtfully, "I think the first thing we're going to do is give you a hearing test."

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I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital after my wife had gone into labor and the nurse walked out and said to the man sitting next to me, "Congratulations sir, you're the new father of twins!"

The man replied, "How about that, I work for the Doublemint Chewing Gum Company." The man then followed the woman to his wife's room.

About an hour later, the same nurse entered the waiting room and announced that Mr. Smith's wife has just had triplets.

Mr. Smith stood up and said, "Well, how do ya like that, I work for the 3M Company."

The gentleman that was sitting next to me then got up and started to leave. When I asked him why he was leaving, he remarked, "I think I need a breath of fresh air." The man continued, "I work for 7-UP."

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Doc tells a guy he has a bad heart. The guy says "I want another opinion." The doc says "OK, you're ugly too."

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A woman tells her doctor " I want a hysterectomy."

The doctor asks " Why Mrs. Koslowski, you're 77 years old?"

She tells him " I don't want any grandchildren."

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A new patient was quite upset when the doctor's nurse led him to a small, curtained cubicle and told him to undress. "But I only want the doctor to look at an ingrown toenail!" he protested.

"Our rule is that everyone must undress," replied the nurse as she handed him a very skimpy johnny.

"That's a stupid rule," grumbled the patient, "making me undress just to look at my toe."

"That's nothing," growled a voice from the next cubicle. "I just came to fix the phones!"

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 Why do ducks have webbed feet?     To stamp out fires.
 

Why do elephants have flat feet?   To stamp out burning ducks

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A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground.
He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.
The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services.
He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?”

The operator, in a calm soothing voice says: “Just take it easy.
I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard.

The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?“

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Texan: “Where are you from?”

Harvard grad: 
“I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.”

Texan: “Okay – where are you from, jackass?”
 

 

 

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