Laughter Is Good Medicine

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Anthropological research suggests laughter and humor are genetically built-in, and that humor, historically, has functioned as “a social glue.” The critical laughter trigger for most people is not necessarily a joke or funny movie, but rather another person
  • Laughter is contagious. The sound of laughter triggers regions in the premotor cortical region of your brain, which is involved in moving your facial muscles to correspond with sound
  • While children laugh on average 300 times a day, adults laugh only 17 times a day on average. Suggestions for how to get more laughter in your life are included
  • In one study, even after adjusting for confounding factors, the prevalence of heart diseases among those who rarely or never laughed was 21% higher, and the ratio of stroke 60% higher, than among those who laughed every day
  • Benefits of laughter have been reported in geriatrics, critical and general patient care, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, oncology, psychiatry, rheumatology, palliative care and terminal care

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