11 de agosto de 2009

Intensas ganas de reir

En inglés hay un refrán que dice, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Ahora, parece que podemos decir, a good laugh a day keeps the cardiologist and the psychiatrist away.

Al menos, eso se desprende del artículo Medicinal mirth: The health benefits of laughter de la revista Ode.

Aquí unos interesantes párrafos:

... Is the old saw from Proverbs true? "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

Solomon—or whoever wrote Proverbs—was clearly onto something. In the past decade or two, scientists have gathered evidence of laughter’s perks. Laughter blunts stress and pain; hearty chuckling increases levels of the "happy" brain chemicals known as endorphins. Laughter staves off black moods, which can damage heart health and increase the risk of stroke. It reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that’s tied to several health problems, including deposition of fat in the abdominal area, the most dangerous place for it. Laughter can ease anxiety disorders, while the breast milk of mothers who laugh hard contains higher levels of melatonin, which can reduce the chances of eczema in newborns. Laughter may also mitigate the damaging effects of inflammation, a process linked to heart attacks, arthritis, allergies and other conditions. The progress of diabetic kidney disease may be stymied by laughter, and laughter is linked to better respiratory function in those with chronic lung disease. Best of all, you burn more calories when you laugh...

... The strongest evidence for the health benefits of laughter comes from psychiatric research. Evidence has been accumulating for years that people who suffer with chronic anxiety, anger and depression have multiple physiological problems. Anger and depression have been linked to heart disease, while gastrointestinal troubles are said to result from uncontrolled anxiety...

... In his late 1970s classic Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins described how the Marx Brothers helped his recovery from a painful illness that was never satisfactorily diagnosed. Their movies gave him hours of pain-free sleep, and he eventually recovered. Some mainstream medicos were dismissive of Cousins, but today, approximately 20 percent of National Cancer Institute-designated treatment centers in the U.S. offer laughter or humor therapy—not because it will cure cancer, but because it helps patients cope.