By: Gina Baluyot, RN
People laugh. Some people laugh more than others. Laughter brings good feelings and helps bring people together. There are people who laugh at jokes, comical antics, comedy movies, and even for no reason at all. Laughter may be uncontrollable, may bring tears to the eyes, sarcastic, nervous, or done even for no reason at all.
Scientists cannot ignore the ubiquity of laughter. It could be something really important and beneficial that it is present in this life. Looking at laughter and its benefits, it could have a scientific and/or medical benefits as well.
It would help to understand what happens with our brains when we laugh. In various scientific studies, one relevant theory scientists looked into is that laughter, along with speech help people bond more effectively. When people laugh, even if they are physically near or not, there is a bond that is being formed among them.
The ability of laughter as social adhesive also helps to describe why humans are able to identify bogus, involuntary, or overly lengthy laughter. It is an action that is diverse and meaningful and involves a range region of the brain. One study shows that parts of the brain involved in laughter are the following:
1. Lateral hypothalamus – involved in promoting arousal, feeding behaviour, lessening perception of pain, digestive functions and blood pressure.
2. Parietal operculum – somewhat responsible for processing senses like touch and pressure.
3. Amygdala – involved in processing memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions.
4. Right cerebellum – involved in visual attention, language, and imagining the condition of others.
Since it is found that the brain is working when one laughs, it could really be that it can do wonders for the human body. Bertrand Russell, a philosopher said that laughter is the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug, and that laughter is a universal medicine. Research studies show that laughter has contributed to better physical health. It slowly knits together in recent advances in psychoneuroimmunology how psychology, neurological activity, and hormonal imbalance are positively affected by laughter.
Although by far, the conclusions in the therapeutic effects of laughter are still tentative, combined results of studies made are interesting. Some of the studies that showed the potential healing powers of laughter includes that of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
So, for better health, it might be a niche but still, laughter is the best medicine.