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Laughter Can Heal a Broken Heart

So, laughter really is the best medicine. A mere chuckle is enough to expand cardiac tissue and increase the flow of oxygen throughout the body, thus exercising a weakened heart, according to a new study.

Scientists in Brazil set out to prove that “laughter therapy” can improve cardiovascular health and ease symptoms of heart disease. Professor Marco Saffi said, “Our study found that laughter therapy increased the functional capacity of the cardiovascular system.”

Researchers looked at 26 adults, at an average age of 64 who had previously been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Every week for three months, half of the group viewed comedy programs while the other half watched serious documentaries about topics such as the Amazon rainforest or politics.

Results showed that the group who watched comedies had a 10% advancement in the amount of oxygen the heart could pump into the body as well as an improvement in their arteries’ ability to expand. Blood testing also detected notable reductions in inflammatory biomarkers, which can indicate if people are at risk for heart attack or stroke and show how much plaque is built up in blood vessels.

It’s believed that laughter has this effect because it releases endorphins, which are needed to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce strain on the heart by keeping stress hormones low. Saffi said, “This study found that laughter therapy is a good intervention that could help reduce that inflammation and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. People should try to do things that make them laugh at least twice a week. Laughing helps people feel happier overall.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Scripture foretold these findings many years ago. We read in Proverbs, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22). A happy heart produces good health, but a heavy spirit can drag you down.

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