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Your Healthy Family: The health benefits of laughter

Posted at 7:36 AM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 08:01:17-04

There could be some truth to the phrase "laughter is the best medicine." Doctors say laughing is good for your health.

“Everyone's worried about their immune system. They're drinking their Echinacea tea and they're taking their Vitamin C and their Zinc, but they should add knock knock jokes to their regimen," Dr. David Friedman said.

“I’m a Chiropractic Neurologist, Doctor of Naturopathy and a Clinical Nutritionist. Basically, I'm known as the only holistic doctor that leaves his patients in stitches,” he said.

Dr. Friedman said laughter lowers stress.

“The stress hormone is called cortisol. Laughing has been shown through scientific studies to reduce the cortisol levels," he said. “Stress is linked to diabetes and obesity and cancer and heart disease. So when you laugh and you reduce stress, laughter truly is the best medicine and stress relief.”

He said when times are tough and you don't feel like laughing, fake it 'til you make it.

“The great news is your brain doesn't know the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh or giggle. So you can fool the brain," he said.

Dr. Friedman said we can also laugh our way to a boosted immune system.

“The journal of Rheumatology actually found that laughing decreases inflammation and increases infectious fighting antibodies. There's another interesting study by the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, and they determined that natural killer cell — the good killers because it kills the bad guys — was higher in the group that was watching funny videos, compared to the group that's not. So we need to laugh more," he said.

Friedman said you can also help you fight heart disease.

“Experts say the number one cause of death in America is heart disease. So they tell you, you've got to eat right, you've got to exercise,” he said. And he also said you've got to laugh.

“According to the International Journal of Cardiology, it said that there's an inverse reaction between laughter and cardiovascular disease. So meaning the more you laugh, the less likely you are to have stroke or heart disease," he said.

He also said laughing help combat cancer.

“The number two cause of death in America is cancer,” he said. “Laughter actually destroys cancer cells. So the next time you giggle, laugh or snort, you may be preventing cancer.”

Dr. Friedman said that’s according to the Complimentary Alternative Medical Journal.

He said laughing can be beneficial to our brain health.

"MRI studies showed that when you laugh, it actually stimulates the cognitive part of the brain that helps you remember," he said.

He said when you think about some core memories you have, more times than not, it's the ones that made you laugh that you remember most.

“We learned by laughing and when you laugh, it actually increases the synapses of the frontal brain and it increases memory and cognitive function," Dr. Friedman said.