Author(s): Laughter, Expression of happiness, Gelotology, Laughter yoga, Humor
Laughter is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Traditionally, it is considered a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from hearing a joke, being tickled, or other stimuli. In History Gelotology was first studied by psychiatrists, although some doctors in antiquity recommended laughter as a form of medicine. Several types of therapy have emerged which use laughter to help patients like Humor and Laughter Therapy, Laughter Meditation, Laughter Yoga. A link between laughter and healthy function of blood vessels was first reported in 2005 by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center with the fact that laughter causes the dilatation of the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, and increases blood flow. Drs. Michael Miller (University of Maryland) and William Fry (Stanford), theorize that beta-endorphin like compounds released by the hypothalamus activate receptors on the endothelial surface to release nitric oxide, thereby resulting in dilation of vessels. Other cardioprotective properties of nitric oxide include reduction of inflammation and decreased platelet aggregation. Laughter has also been shown to have beneficial effects on various other aspects of biochemistry1 . For example, laughter has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. While laughing the brain also releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also boosts the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system.