Canadian Lung Association Blog

On love, laughter and lungs

joy-1878712_1920They say you cannot fall in love with someone you cannot laugh with. True as that might be, laughter is not only the tell-tale sign of compatibility. Is it in fact the best medicine as the old adage suggests? Well, we won’t suggest that laughter will fix a broken bone, treat strep throat or help with a stomach ache. There is better medicine than laughter for those ailments.

But while laughter does not replace medicine, it certainly plays a valuable role in good respiratory health. Here are three things that good laughter can do for your lungs and respiratory system.

Laughter makes your exhalations more effective. When you laugh, your lungs are rid of stale air and more oxygen can enter. This is because laughter helps to expand alveoli in your lungs. These are tiny air sack – of which there are about 300 to 500 million! Expanding these means that the area for oxygen exchange is bigger and more oxygen enters your lungs.

Laughter makes you peppy. It releases endorphins and enkephalins. These are peptides that help to release stress and can help with pain management. These very same compounds are also released through controlled breathing, such as the type of breathing practiced in yoga.

Laughter fuels oxygen. Laughter increases the oxygen distribution and exchange throughout the body: better perfusion. Laughter is the cheerleader of the system that makes the oxygen move faster.

One study also suggested that COPD patients with a greater sense of humour tend to report fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as fewer respiratory illnesses prior to the study.

Whether you use laughter as stress release, compatibility factor litmus test or a way to get more oxygen into your body, we can soundly recommend it as a good way to pass the time. This Valentine’s Day, show your lungs some love and have a hearty laugh.

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