Laughter is a great way to naturally lower blood pressure

Not so long ago laughter therapy made its way into news headlines. This ‘treatment’ is now used in hospitals, in places of work and by psychologists. Researchers showed that laughter helped people reduce anxiety and stress, tolerate pain, bolster their immune system, and lower their blood pressure.

One study investigated the effects of ‘hearty extended unconditional (HEU) laughter using laughter yoga techniques on physiological, psychological, and immunological parameters in the workplace.’ Laughter yoga for example, which combines laughter with exercises, yoga and breathing, significantly lowered blood pressure and reduced levels of cortisol, or stress hormone.

Dr. Madan Kataria, the lead investigator of the study conducted in India, said that laughter needs to be prolonged in order to bring about physiological and biochemical changes. “One doesn’t even need to feel happy, as long as you laugh heartily for a protracted period of time.”

Besides the positive psychological effects, laughing increases circulation and improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to body tissue.  Humor lowers blood pressure, helps the immune system function properly, and wards off respiratory problems. It has also been shown to reduce at least four of neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress response― epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone. Laughter helps in pain control by increasing endorphins and by helping people forget aches and pains so that their body can relax. The fact that relaxation helps lower high blood pressure is well document.

Humor is a good technique to help treat depression. Research shows that people suffering from depression are more prone to illnesses like high blood pressure, heart attacks and cancer. Depression can also negatively affect the immune system.

As far as lowering the blood pressure, studies show that people who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood pressure than the average person. After a hearty laugh, at first the blood pressure rises, but then it decreases to levels below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper, which sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body.

Never mind the apple, a laugh a day keeps the doctor away!

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