Laughter is the best medicine, a popular saying states. Well, such words of wisdom are becoming a reality in the world of medicine. A recent medical study has shown that laughter could offer relief in pain to people suffering from a certain disease.
Study researcher Robin Dunbar of the the University of Oxford explained people who laugh release endorphins which give humans the ability to endure pain. Dunbar said the more a person laughs, the more endorphins are released which result in less pain to persons suffering from specific sicknesses. He said to get the data, the they first tested participants for their pain threshold, then gave them either a control or a laugh-inducing test, and then tested pain levels again.
Among the tests the researchers did is to show them humorous videos (clips of the TV shows “Mr. Bean” and “Friends”) and a live comedy show during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. To g et a better result the participants were tested both in groups and alone. After evaluating the result they discovered that the participants’ ability to tolerate pain jumped after laughing. It was learned that on average, watching about 15 minutes of comedy in a group increased pain threshold by 10 percent.
Participants tested alone showed slightly smaller increases in their pain threshold. The researchers said the long series of exhalations that accompany true laughter cause physical exhaustion of the abdominal muscles and, in turn, trigger endorphin release. Medical data state that endorphin release is usually caused by physical activity, like exercise, or touch, like massage.