True or False: Laughing Lowers Blood Pressure?
True or False: Laughing Lowers Blood Pressure?

Last week we covered a really interesting topic:
The direct connection between anxiety and chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure.  We learned some great concrete action steps you can take to get control of anxiety.

In case you missed that article, you can check it out here:
FACT: Anxiety Causes High BP.  End Anxiety In 4 Easy Steps

Now let’s change gears completely and look at the other end of the emotional spectrum:  Laughter.

Is it possible that there’s a connection between laughter and lower blood pressure?

There are mountains of scientific proof connecting long-term
negative emotion to poor health – but what evidence is there that
the opposite is true – that laughter could actually promote good health?

Whenever I hear questions like this, my instinct says it must be true,
it seems logical that laughter would be great for the body and mind…

But the skeptical scientist in me needs data:  What’s the proof?

Interestingly, there is indeed solid clinical data supporting laughter and
positive moods being connected with lowering blood pressure naturally.

In one study at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine,
90 men and women between 40 and 74 years old were divided
into two groups.

1)  One group was encouraged to do a mixture of music and laughter sessions twice a month:

  • The music sessions included things like listening to their favorite music,
    singing and stretching.  Participants were also encouraged to listen to music at home.
  • The laughter sessions included listening to comedians and doing ‘Laughter Yoga’.
    (More on Laughter Yoga in just a moment).

2)  The second group, the “control” group, did nothing.

The results:  After three months, the people in the “music and laughter group”
lowered their overall systolic blood pressure by an average of 5 to 6 points,
while the group that did nothing stayed the same.

While these numbers might seem small, results like this are in line with what
many patients might get from adding a new blood pressure drug to their prescriptions.

In fact, even results as small as these are enough to reduce the risk of death from a stroke or heart disease by as much as 15%.

Studies like this are yet further evidence of the powerful mind-body connection and
our enormous ability to heal – when nature is given half a chance.

According to Michael Miller, M.D., who was not part of this study but has done
similar research, “I think there is definitely a physiological effect going on,
some sort of mind-heart connection.”

Now let’s take a look at some fascinating ways to add more laughter to your life:
Laughter Yoga and Laughter Therapy.

Laughter Yoga is a relatively new twist on the ancient version.  First created in 1995
by Dr. Maden Kataria in Mumbai, India, there are now over 6000 ‘Social Laughter
Clubs’ in 60 countries around the world.  The technique blends Pranayama Yoga
(Yogic Breathing) with, well… uncontrolled laughter.

Check out this video from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta to learn more about Laughter Yoga:

Beyond Laughter Yoga, another related method is called Laughter Therapy:

You’ve heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine”.
Now we’ve got the data to prove it.  🙂

Personally, one of the ways that I like to add laughter to my life is watching comedians on YouTube.

As a final note, I’m going to include a clip from one of my favorite stand-ups, Jim Gaffigan.
(He’s mildly crude at times, but not profane.)  Enjoy!  🙂

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