After a hilarious laughing session with someone, have you ever heard them respond, "Wow, thanks! I needed that!"? Well, we all do benefit from a good laugh once in a while, and we all probably benefit in our own unique ways – would you agree with that?

Take a moment to think about it, what does LAUGHTER do for you? Is this old adage true on some level? Laughter is thought to be a Super-Balancer, reversing unhealthy stress reactions and helping various treatments work better so you can simply enjoy life more.

To serve as some medical insight, the Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation for Banner Desert Hospital, Dr. David Kassel, says, laughter does in fact appear to have some physical effect on the body, but it's hard to say how beneficial those effects actually are.

"Endorphins get released, the brain is in a happier mode, they may help arteries relax, meaning they may carry more blood flow to critical organs," said Dr. Kassel. "Unfortunately, whether that is a significant feature that helps somebody, that's something we just don't know."

Other research has been done and findings suggest that there are generally 18 different kinds of smiles in the world; the most common being a smile of enjoyment. Did you know that 13 muscles are used when smiling, and 47 are used when frowning?

Another plus side of laughter is that it lowers the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known to suppresses the immune system. Lowering Cortisol levels basically enhances the immune system; thus, disease can be prevented much easier. Did you know that, through laughter, you can also elevate your blood pressure, improve breathing capacity, and stimulate your heart and lungs? Wow - the medical benefits seem plentiful! A possible downfall might be an accident caused by a weak bladder, but could the benefits outweigh that one? That's a thought!

It is thought that 10 minutes of rowing is equivalent to laughing 100 times a day. Charles Darwin believed that one's facial expression can actually influence one's mood, and studies in bio-feedback confirm Darwin's belief.

It is found, by asking many people who attend a laughter club, that they can't speak on the medical benefits – they just know that they certainly feel better after the event.

Debbie White, who has been going to the group meetings for two years at the 'SWIHA ha ha Laughter Club' in Tempe, AZ said, "I've had some problems sleeping, but when I leave here I go home and, right to sleep."

Linda Scharf, a Certified Laughter Leader at SWIHA, started the group a few years ago after recognizing the benefits she got from laughter therapy during her recovery from cancer treatments. "Emotionally it was such a lift and physically it always made me feel very energized, at the same time you feel relaxed," said Scharf. As for laughter being the best medicine, Linda simply points out that, "with laughter, there are no bad side effects."

Carmen Marrero, another SWIHA Certified Laughter Leader, says that laughing naturally burns calories and requires muscles that you do not normally use; thus it's a good workout! "When we laugh, the brain simultaneously make gestures and sound. Fifteen facial muscles contract. Nerves sent to the brain trigger electrical impulses to set off chemical reactions. These reactions release natural tranquilizers, pain relievers and endorphins, says Marrero, who also works with Parkinson patients.

"Parkinson patients in their advance stage don't show much emotion in their facial structure; they have a hard time moving their facial muscles as they become very stiff. Their attempt from preventing the tremor makes the muscle tense. This is what I have noticed working with Parkinson patients from Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. It has given me the opportunity to see them laugh and become relaxed. The contiguous laughter produces Joy, allowing their bodies to become distracted from their struggles. Their attitude changes as they also struggle with depression. All in all, it's beneficial for anyone, patient or not."

As you can see, and know for yourself, laughter is one of the best medicines in life. As another fun saying goes, "Live, Laugh and Love!"

Author's Bio: 

I am happily supporting and serving Southwest Institute of Healing Arts ( as the e-Marketing Specialist. SWIHA a nationally accredited (ACCET) private college and community-healing center for Holistic Healthcare careers and continuing education. I submit articles here on behalf of our teaching staff, students, graduates, and support SWIHA overall on all other online edeavors. ~ Blessings