For years doctors have advised humour as medicine for the heart and a stress reliever. Unfortunately, many ignore this age old advice and choose to live in a world devoid of humour.
“Did you know that when we laugh, we give off those brave mercenaries known as endorphins? They are the special agents which lower the blood pressure and it has been even said to relieve pain” says Dr Joseph Mugisha of Kanombe Hospital
Mugisha points out that, “laughing is a great stress reliever, every time one laughs the heart muscles relax and this can help in preventing heart complications. It can also help avoid stress related diseases. We encourage people to embrace humour so as to avoid these diseases because they can be fatal” ,he continues
Laughter therapy, also called humour therapy, is the use of humour to promote overall health and wellness. It uses the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort.
Laughter brings in positive emotions that we need in this stressful life.
Psychologist Annette Nambi says that if people were happy and laughed more often, her office would be a deserted one
“Most of my patients would not be on medication if they appreciated life more, if they took time off their busy schedules to relax, visit friends, enjoy humour and in everything find a reason to laugh.
Laughter is immediate therapy that is innate and I wish we used it more”.
Doctors across the world continue to prescribe humour to their patients. In countries such as India, laughing clubs, where participants gather in the early morning for the sole purpose of laughing, are becoming very popular.
Medical journals have acknowledged that laughter therapy can help improve quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses.
Many hospitals especially in western countries now offer laughter therapy programs as a complementary treatment to illness.
Martin Musoni is a busy businessman and was diagnosed with stress last year. His doctor advised him to take time off work and to visit friends and family.
“I think my doctor felt I needed a break from a busy schedule and that I was stressed because of lack of life in my life,” says Musoni.
Norman Cousins in his book ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ discusses the science behind humour therapy. His findings, like those of other scientists before him find laughter as therapeutic.
In addition to lowering blood pressure, reducing stress hormones and increasing muscle flex, laughing also boosts the immune system by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Another benefit of this therapy is that it is free.
When was the last time you laughed so hard it brought tears to your eyes? When was the last time you couldn’t stop laughing, and when you finally did; you noticed a sweet relaxation pour over you like oil, almost as if you had taken a sedative. Man was born with the innate gift of laughter.
Laughter is a natural medicine. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy and healthy too.