Laughing for Good Health

CHICAGO-A Japanese study shows laughter may really be the best medicine.

In an experiment, 26 men and women with allergic skin rashes were tested for improvement in the size of their skin welts. The group that watched Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" had smaller welts afterward. The group that watched a video on weather had no change in the size of their infections.

Scientists and doctors worldwide have said laughter being a good medicine is not a new discovery. Margaret Stuber, MD, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA said research has shown stress undermines the disease-fighting immune system. Easing stress has a positive effect.

Japanese researchers based their experiment on a report by author Norman Cousins. Cousins suffered from a life-threatening joint disease and reported that 10 minutes of laughter helped reduce the pain. Cousins 30-year-old research suggested that laughter and a positive attitude can help reduce pain.

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