Laughter can heal a broken heart — literally: heart health study


August 28, 2023 | 1:57 p.m

So laughter is really the best medicine.

A new study reveals that just a chuckle is enough to expand heart tissue and increase oxygen flow throughout the body, thus exercising a weak heart.

Scientists in Brazil set out to prove that “laughter therapy” can improve cardiovascular health and relieve symptoms of heart disease.

“Our study found that laughter therapy increases the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system,” said lead author Professor Marco Savi, from Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil. Watchman.

“Laughter therapy can be implemented in institutions and health systems such as the NHS (the National Health System in the United Kingdom) for patients who are at risk of developing heart problems.”

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the Council European Society of Cardiology In Amsterdam, the largest cardiology conference in the world.

Scientists in Brazil wanted to find out if “laughter therapy” could improve cardiovascular health and relieve symptoms of heart disease.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

The researchers studied 26 adults, with an average age of 64, who had previously been diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Every week for three months, half of the group watched comedy shows while the other half watched serious documentaries on topics such as the Amazon rainforest or politics.

The results showed that the group that watched comedy films experienced a 10% improvement in the amount of oxygen the heart can pump to the body, in addition to an improvement in the ability of the arteries to dilate.

The blood test also revealed a significant decrease in inflammatory biomarkers, which can indicate whether people are at risk of a heart attack or stroke and show how much plaque builds up in blood vessels.

“When patients with coronary artery disease arrive at the hospital, they have a lot of inflammatory biomarkers,” Safi said. “Inflammation is a large part of the atherosclerotic process when plaque builds up in the arteries.”

Laughter is thought to have this effect because it releases endorphins, which are needed to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce stress on the heart by keeping stress hormones low.

“This study found that laughter therapy is a good intervention that can help reduce this inflammation and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” Safi said.

He suggested that laughter therapy could eventually reduce dependence on medication.

Safi pointed out that these results do not have to be the result of TV shows alone, they can also come from live comedy shows or fun evenings with friends and family.

“People should try to do things that make them laugh at least twice a week,” Safi said.

“Laughter helps people feel happier in general, and we know that when people are happier they are better at sticking to medication.”

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