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Laugh Your Way to a Healthy HeartModern day stressors, worries and lifestyle changes have increased the rate of heart diseases - a major cause of death and despair. Even as doctors and patients try to minimize the risk factors, scientific studies have proved that laughter is the simplest answer to a healthy heart. An extended hearty laughter is one of the fastest ways to accelerate heart rate and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and heart massage.

Laughter Yoga is a unique workout which effectively combines laughter exercises with deep yogic breathing providing a complete internal massage for physical and mental well-being. A daily dose of laughter expands the blood vessels and opens the arteries. It allows the blood to flow freely to all parts of the body, thus preventing a cardiac failure. Just 20 minutes of laughter is as good as an hour of aerobic exercises. It provides a fast and powerful no-sweat cardiovascular workout. Anyone can do it and feel the difference just after the first session. It minimizes stress, reduces blood pressure and lifts depression. It also boosts the immune system and increases circulation for better air flow to the body and the brain. It releases endorphins, a natural opiate, which alleviates pain and kick starts good feelings, which helps to elevate the mood instantaneously and changes the perspective towards things thereby reducing depression.

Here are two recently published articles that reaffirm the effectiveness of laughter in maintaining good physical and mental health, while especially keeping cardio-vascular diseases in check.

Laughter Helps Blood Vessels, Aids Heart

To protect your blood vessels, try having a few good laughs, researchers say. Watching a funny movie or television show aids vascular function, while a stressful or scary movie narrows blood vessels, according to research presented today at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris.

The findings confirm previous studies that suggested a link between mental stress and the narrowing of blood vessels, said the lead researcher, Michael Miller of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. A separate study today showed that survivors of heart attacks are more likely to experience a new cardiovascular event if they are angry or stressed out compared with those who aren’t.

“The take-home message here is laughing is great for your heart,” Miller said in an interview in Paris.

More than 300 measurements were conducted on the arms of the volunteers, showing a 30 percent to 50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between the expansion due to laughter and the constriction caused by stress, according to the researchers.

“Prescription for health should include laughter” Miller said. “In other words, eat your veggies, exercise, don’t do unhealthy things like smoking, and get a good belly laugh every day.”

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Thumbs Up To Don't Worry-Be-Happy Theory

(Published Times Of India, Mumbai - 30 August, 2011)

Laughter is the best medicine. Scientists on Monday scientifically backed the age-old adage, "don't worry, be happy", and reported that patients with cardiovascular disease, who have fits of anger could be vulnerable to recurrent heart attacks.

However, when people laughed, their major blood vessels dilated thereby improving blood flow. This is a major marker for a reduced risk of cardiac events.

Chairman of the Escorts Heart Research Institute, Dr Ashok Seth, said that people who are angry have a number of reasons to develop heart problems. Anger releases adrenergic and vasoconstrictor hormones, which decrease blood supply to the heart and also increases blood clotting. He added, "Happy people, on the other hand, have an attitude of mental relaxation, which is already been shown to dilate arteries. Being happy should be an important advise for all people suffering from heart disease."

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