Research is now showing that laughter may be one of the healthiest things you can do. Several recent reports show that laugher is in fact very healthy and promotes healing from within. One study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Feb 14, 2001 originated from research at Unitika Central Hospital in Japan. In this study the Japanese discovered that skin welts shrank in allergy patients who watched Charlie Chaplin's comedic classic "Modern Times," however, not in patients who watched a video on weather.
Head researcher, Dr. Hajime Kimata said, "These results claim that the induction of laughter may play some role in alleviating allergic diseases." Dr Kimata was influenced by an earlier study by Norman Cousins' whose 30-year-old research suggested that laughter plus a positive attitude may help reduce pain. Cousins suffered from a life-threatening joint disease and reported that ten minutes of laughter helped reduce his pain. In another study on laugher and health, Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center, led a study of 300 people, half of whom had suffered a heart attack or had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. The other half matched the first group in age, but had no heart problems. Both groups were asked to answer two questionnaires built to discover how much they laugh and what their degrees of anger and hostility were in a number of situations. The results indicated that the group with heart disease was 40 percent less likely to laugh, and was also more prone to feel hostility and anger. A different but similar study by an Ohio State University researcher also suggests a connection between one's happiness and the state of one's heart. In that large-scale, 10-year study the results indicated that clinically depressed men had been found to be more than twice as likely to die of a heart attack as those that did not suffer from depression. The Ohio study was published in the October 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. If you had to go for a moral to these stories you might be inclined to say that these studies show that "Health IS a laughing matter!"