One of the best prescriptions is laughter

A Russian youth, a member of the Siberian Ski patrol, arrived home after guarding the frontier for several months.

He was asked by a TV interviewer, “What do you do first on arriving home after being away for so long?”

He replied, “I make love to my wife.”

The interviewer replied, “I understand that as you’ve been away a long time. But what do you do next?” The young man replied, “I make love to my wife again.”

“Yes,” the frustrated interviewer continued, “but then what do you do?”

The young Russian replied “Oh, I take off my skis.”

Some readers may be thinking, “Don’t sell the farm if you plan to be a comedian.”

But I do hope that at least this joke made some of you laugh, because studies show a good “ha ha” is one of the best medical treatments.

Dr. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, says that animals groom, pat and delouse one another to develop bonding. Humans fortunately don’t have to delouse one another, but Dunbar claims our social chuckles are “grooming from a distance.”

He adds that a hearty “ha ha” also increases endorphins, morphine-like substances that help to decrease pain.

To prove his point he showed research participants a number of different videos, some of which were comical. First, he tightened a blood pressure cuff to test their pain threshold. This showed that laughing at funny scenes did decrease the amount of pain.

Many years ago, Norman Cousins, a former editor of Saturday Review Magazine, developed a crippling joint disease following a stressful trip to Europe. His doctors told him he faced a grim future.

Cousins decided to see if laughing could affect the course of his illness. Day after day he watched old movies of comics Laurel and Hardy. He discovered that after 10 minutes of laughter he could sleep without pain for two hours.

Cousins’ doctors at the University of California were so impressed with his recovery that for many years he lectured to medical students on what he called “The muscular benefits of internal jogging without having to go outdoors.”

A good belly laugh also provides such a good workout for abdominal and chest muscles that when laughter and muscles relax, the heart rate and blood pressure drop.

This calming effect lasts for 45 minutes.

A hearty chuckle also produces nitric oxide which relaxes arteries and decreases blood pressure. Recently I mentioned that a new product, NEO40, also produces nitric oxide which by dilating blood vessels helps to fight fatigue, cardiovascular disease, sexual dysfunction, arthritis and other conditions. For more information, see the web site or call the toll-free number 1-855-636-4040.

Laughter can’t cure everything. As one man remarked, “Those who say that laughter is the best medicine never had gonorrhea.” And if you have diabetes you need insulin to live.

But through the ages laughter has helped to ease much emotional pain. Abraham Lincoln once remarked during the U.S. civil war, “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I would die.”

Today, more than ever we need more “ha ha” in this troubled world. As Alan Alda remarked, “When people are laughing they’re generally not killing one another.”

They are also not getting as ill as unhappy people. And no one in history is known to have died of laughter.

So, this week, here’s another attempt to improve your health by having a good “ha ha.”

Doctor to patient: “You’re in good health and you’ll live to 80.”

Patient replies, “But doctor, I’m already 80 years old.”

Doctor to patient: “See, what did I tell you?”

Then there’s the story of the man who was walking past a wooden fence at the insane asylum and heard all the residents inside chanting “13, 13, 13”. The man, curious to know what was happening, looked for a small hole in the fence and peeked in. Immediately he was poked in the eye, and everyone in the asylum started chanting “14, 14, 14.”

Enjoy the week. Have a good laugh.

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