Laughing, people know, has always been considered as one of the best ways to reach well-being. Effects on brain, heart and lungs, as well as a cure against depression. Laughing and smiling constitute an essential part of antistress therapies, from hospitals to dedicated sessions.
Is laughing a good way to reach wall-being?
For centuries, laughing has been considered one of the best ways to reach well-being and to tackle stressful factors. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, argued that laughing was the very method in order to heal. Millenia have passed since medicine was born, but experts still agree with what Hippocrates said. Laughing can be a decisive factor for a patient’s healing. They do not, however, talk about a habit, but about a real therapy, based on a regular attendance. In Italy, a law stated in 2017 claimed “the possibility to use, through the assistance of health personnel and volunteers specially trained, smile and laughing in favor of those who suffer from a social, psychical or physical discomfort”.
To laugh leads to physical and mental benefits
Benefits related to laughing are many and involving both the body and the mind. For instance, laughing improves the blood circulation, enforces the immune system and keeps the brain well-trained. All this happens because a laugh increases the blood pressure, preventing cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, to laugh releases endorphins, leading to benefits as regards to manage anxiety, stress, as well as to improve self-esteem. Laughing also leads to an improvement within of the social environment especially at work. In fact, a good mood improves relationships among colleagues, favoring a pleasant work in group and increasing problem solving capacities.
Laughing: a method, more kinds of therapy
There are several therapies about the “art to laugh”, whose aim is to act in favor the well-being of the person. But when did this therapy first appear? The first one to work on this topic was Stanford University professor Ph.D. William Fry. In the 70s, he studied in deep physiological processes related to laughing by measuring effects on the heart beating and circulation. Fry was even able to quantify a sort of “daily dose of laugh” in order to be better. It was one hundred laughs a day.
Another method hugely known is Patch Adams’s clown therapy. It is a therapeutic method based on humor and fun as supports for psychical and physical healing. Recently, a new method has stepped up within this field. Gelotology has developed the so-called laughter yoga. Here, therapy becomes exercise and technique. The first one to experiment this method was Madan Kataria, an Indian doctor who, in the 90s, tried to study in deep the benefits of laughing on himself. The practice of laughter yoga involves a combination of breath exercise with brief laugh series.