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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

Posted By: Advancing Care

As seen in the September/October 2019 issue of Advancing Care

Maintaining a sense of humor, even in the face of a serious medical issue, can be beneficial, says Ellis Lader, MD, Director of the Kingston Division of Cardiology at the WMCHealth Heart and Vascular Institute at HealthAlliance Hospital: Mary’s Avenue Campus, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) in Kingston.

“Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response,” Dr. Lader says. “It massages internal organs while toning abdominal muscles.”

The medicinal effects of humor center on short-term physiological reactions, which release endorphins, increase circulation, burn calories and lower blood pressure. This also relieves pain and boosts the immune system.

But humor’s most important therapeutic benefit is helping to create a positive attitude. “We have solid data that if you’re depressed, you do worse in terms of survival after a heart attack or an operation,” he says. “Researchers are also looking into laughter’s effects on how fast wounds heal after surgery and how fast white blood cells rebound to normal levels after being lowered by chemotherapy.”

Visit us at Health Alliance Hospital, a member of Westchester Medical Center Health Network, to learn more. Advancing Care. Here.

Do you have a health-related question for a WMCHealth physician or specialist?

Email your questions to [email protected], with “Just the Facts” in the subject heading. Your question may be featured in a future issue.

Illustration by Cocoramb