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  Humour and Health

When health has deteriorated it becomes harder to smile and to laugh. There is a greater risk of depression with increasing health difficulties. If you experience chronic health conditions such as arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular problems, you may become vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety. There are studies that indicate the importance of laughter or at least smiling. Here are some well known facts about humour and health.

Effects of Humour on Health

  1. IMMUNITY: increased, IgA and IgM and IgG increased in blood after laughter, improved resistance to colds and infections
  2. ENDORPHINS & ENCEPHALONS: natural high making chemicals of the body are increased by laughter
  3. MUSCULAR relaxation (muscles take 2 hours to return to previous state of tension after belly laugh)
  4. LUNGS are helped by laughter expelling residual volume of air, allowing more fresh air to enter lungs
  5. EXERCISE Stress hormones reduced (adrenalin and noradrenalin, cortisol

Research by Dr. Bill Fry of Stanford Medical School has established that 100 laughs a day give you as much beneficial exercise as 10 minutes of rowing - and without the agonised expression that rowers, stationery cyclists and joggers customarily have on their faces. A study at the University of Maryland has shown that laughing regularly offers some protection against heart attacks.



  • the video Patch Adams starring Robin Williams, all about laughter and medicine.
  • the Fawlty Towers series or Mash


  • selecting comedies rather than dramas on TV
  • read a book that makes you laugh
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