Results of the study showed that laughing not only enhances a positive mood, but lowers stress hormones, increases immune activity, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, similar to moderate exercise.
Volunteers for the study were shown a series of both humorous and upsetting videos. Immediately before and after each video, the participants gave blood samples and had their blood pressure measured.
Testing showed that the humorous videos changed blood pressure, hormone levels, and endorphins in the same way moderate exercise does.
Dr. Lee S. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunology researcher at Loma Linda University, has been working on studies related to laughter for almost three decades.
“We are finally starting to realize that our everyday behaviors and emotions are modulating our bodies in many ways,” Berk said.
The study will be presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference.