MS Mondays: Health and Laughter is Helpful Medicine!

Our friends at Life After Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI), recently created a bumper sticker that said, “Does this wheelchair make my butt look big?”. The response to it was amazing and hundreds of people requested stickers to use on their cars or wheelchairs. It’s amazing how far a little humor can go. In fact, humor, or more importantly, laughter, has been shown to have some pretty awesome health benefits too. And who doesn’t want that?

Some scientists believe that laughter has the same health benefits as light exercise, and can actually burn a few calories too. According to WebMD, laughter affects us in the following ways:

  • Blood flow. Researchers at the University of Maryland studied the effects on blood vessels when people were shown either comedies or dramas. After the screening, the blood vessels of the group who watched the comedy behaved normally — expanding and contracting easily. But the blood vessels in people who watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow.
  • Immune response. Increased stress is associated with decreased immune system response, says Provine. Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.
  • Blood sugar levels. One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.
  • Relaxation and sleep. The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousin’s memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of Candid Camera, helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.
Source: WebMD

Dr. Kataria

Laughter is even taught as a form of exercise called Laughter Yoga. The principle behind it is that you can teach yourself to laugh even without external stimulus, and your body can’t tell that it’s not “real” laughter. Laughter Yoga was created by Dr. Madan Kataria in 1995. He formed the first Laughter Club in Mumbai, India, and today there are over 8000 clubs in 60 countries.  Laughter Yoga boasts many health benefits: “Participants of Laughter Yoga report significant general health improvements. Many have felt a reduction in the frequency of respiratory infections like common cold and flu, and some others reported overcoming depression, relief/cure from chronic medical problems. With people’s committed participation, Laughter Yoga has helped many people become healthier.” (laughteryoga.org)

While there is no solid proof that laughing helps provide cold and flu relief or can cure chronic medical issues, you can’t deny how good laughing makes you feel! So, to make sure each one of you gets a good dose of laughter today, I’ve searched high and low for some really funny MS-related images. Have a chuckle and consider these all your MS Monday Motivations!



 


 About the Author: Lindsey Beacham, from Atlanta, serves as Marketing Coordinator for UroMed. She graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in Criminology and from Georgia State University with a B.B.A in Marketing. When she’s not busy with marketing or studying for additional degrees, she enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with her family.

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

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