Laughter is the Best Medicine

We all have heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine," and now there is scientific proof.  A study from the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil has shown that regular chuckling expands heart tissue and promotes the flow of oxygen in the body, thus reducing the risk of cardiac disease.

"Our study found that laughter therapy increased the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system," said the lead author, Professor Marco Saffi, when presenting the study’s findings at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Amsterdam this week. The randomized study, which was published in ESC 365, included a total of 26 patients averaging 63 years of age, 69% of whom were male.

All of the patients were previously diagnosed with coronary artery disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries and can restrict the flow of blood to the heart.

Half of the patients watched two hour-long comedy shows on TV each week for a three-month period, and the other half watched two "neutral documentaries." At the end of the study period, the group that watched the comedy programs showed a 10% greater flow of oxygen compared to the other group, indicating a stronger and healthier heart. The comedy watchers also demonstrated improved expansion of the arteries and reduced inflammation of the heart.

Doctors noted that laughter does not take the place of a healthy diet, exercise and medicine, but they cannot deny the positive results that a good belly laugh produced.  

Just another example of what the Bible has always taught us.  In an already stressed out world, don’t make your problems worse by adding to your stress by neglecting your relationship with your church.  Church should be one of the safest, happiest places you go each week.  If that is not the case, don’t blame the Church in general, find one that will help you find the humor in life.  

Some of the best scenes we told about in Scripture are those where Jesus has a sense of humor.  A camel though an eye of the needle?  The Sons of Thunder? A log in someone’s eye?  What about when Nathanael sarcastically replies, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" When he met Jesus, Jesus first words to him: “Here is a true descendant of our ancestor Israel. And he isn't deceitful" (John 1:47, CEV)!  That was a joke toward Nathanael’s sarcasm!  

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a proper time for everything, including humor!  Learn to laugh a little! If you can’t find anything funny in your life, look in the mirror and loosen up!  

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22

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