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For years we have heard that Laughter is the Best Medicine. A doctor in India founded a movement of Laughter Yoga which has spread to more than 60 countries. Got nothing to laugh about? You can get the same benefits from faking it. “Fake it until you make it.”
Sandra Boris-Berkowitz, M.Ed., LRC, is a Laughter Yoga Leadercertified by the Dr. Kataria School of Laughter Yoga. She is also a teacher and a licensed rehabilitation counselor.
Over 25 years ago, Dr. Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness described how watching Marx Brother movies helped him recover from a life-threatening tissue disease.
"Is it possible," he wondered, "that love, hope, faith, laughter, and confidence and the will to live have therapeutic value?" Cousins made it a point to enjoy a hearty belly laugh several times a day. A few minutes of laughter gave him an hour or more of pain-free sleep.
Scientific studies have proved that hearty laughter has a powerful and immediate strengthening effect on our immune system.
Laughter quickly increases immunoglobulin levels that help fight infection and increases the number of Natural Killer Cells (NK cells) in the blood. Natural killer cells play a key role in cancer prevention. Dr Berk took blood samples from subjects watching humorous videos and found that natural killer cells increased significantly with laughter. The NK cells in blood samples from laughing subjects quickly killed cancer cells he introduced into the samples.
There is medical evidence that laughter releases natural hormones (endorphins) which help you feel good. Laughter reduces stress, increases energy, boosts the immune system, provides natural pain relief, and improves brain functioning.
One minute of laughter is equivalent to 6-10 minutes on a treadmill. Fifteen minutes of laughter a day can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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