Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Shutterstock © Three female friends laughing together

You don’t have to wait until World Laughter Day (the first Sunday in May) to raise a smile because did you know that there are great health benefits of laughter?

We’ve discovered that laughter is a serious business all year round – but in a positive way! Laughter is good for your health and is a sure sign of happiness. It can help boost mood and wellbeing, among other health-giving properties.

Building on over 25 years of clinical experience each, husband and wife therapists Brian and Hephzibah Kaplan use proven techniques to offer new and entertaining ways to create positive change. Their book “Almost Happy: Pushing Your Buttons With Reverse Psychology”, provides tools to help you look on the bright side of life. 

Dr Brian Kaplan, who explains the health benefits of laughter

Dr Brian Kaplan

Health benefits of laughter

There’s some truth in the old cliché ‘laughter is the best medicine’. There is considerable scientific evidence showing that laughter is excellent for us both physically and psychologically. And in many different ways. 

“One expert in the science of laughter is Professor Bill Fry of Stanford University. He devoted most of his professional life to ‘gelotology’, the study of laughter, and how it helps us physically and psychologically. Here is an aide memoire showing some of the benefits he demonstrated for laughter in his 25 years of research on the subject,” says Brian.

6 ways laughter helps your health

   Stress Reduction

   Muscular relaxation   

     Immunity enhanced   

L     Lungs expel older air allowing more fresh air to enter

E     Belly laughing exercises both heart and lungs

   Endorphins, the natural high-making chemicals of the body can be shown to increase after laughter

1. Stress Reduction

People definitely look less stressed when they are laughing. And scientists have confirmed that laughter reduces our levels of stress hormones: adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol.  

2. Muscular Relaxation

We feel less tense when we laugh. It’s been shown that our muscles are actually more relaxed  after a good belly laugh.  

3. Immunity Enhanced

Our levels of antibodies and killer cells, the natural soldiers of the body, are raised immediately when we laugh. 

4. Lung Health

In everyday life when we breathe out, we expel approximately 80% of the air in our lungs leaving a residual volume of 20% in the lungs. However, a good laugh tends to clear the lungs of all the old air, allowing more fresh air with each breath. 

5. Endorphins

Endorphins are one of our natural feel-good chemicals. Laughter has long been shown to increase the levels of endorphins in the blood.  

6. Exercise

A good belly laugh is actually a good form of exercise! 

Want to know the 10 top things that make people happy? Have a guess then click here to find out.

Discover what actually happens when we laugh in this great BBC article.


Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.