It has long been said that laughter can be the best medicine; now, research suggests that laughing may help alleviate the symptoms of heart disease.
Scientists in Brazil conducted a trial to examine whether “laughter therapy” can improve cardiovascular symptoms.
The trial looked at 26 adults with an average age of 64, all of whom had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease.
Half watched comedy shows every week for three months, while the other half watched serious documentaries.
The comedy troupe saw a 10 percent improvement in the amount of oxygen their heart could pump through the body, while the expandability of their arteries also improved.
The trial looked at 26 adults with an average age of 64, all of whom had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (file image)
There were also significant reductions in inflammatory biomarkers, which indicate how much plaque has built up in blood vessels and whether people are at risk of heart attack or stroke.
Lead author Professor Marco Saffi, from Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil, said: “This study found that laughter therapy could help reduce such inflammation and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
“Laughter therapy could be implemented in institutions and health systems such as the NHS for patients at risk of heart problems.”
Experts believe that laughing can help the heart because it releases endorphins, which reduce inflammation and help the heart and blood vessels relax.
It also reduces the levels of stress hormones, which put pressure on the heart.