by Ruonan Zhang, L.Ac.
People love to laugh. As one saying goes: Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter therapy is rapidly becoming popular. What is going on when you laugh? The process of laughter is a movement of the lungs. Your lungs will take a deep breath and blow, improving the functioning of the lungs and heart. Meanwhile, your body will boost the production of some hormones, which increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. Your body ends up in a state of pleasure.
Actually, this is not always true- too much laughter might actually be harmful for you. New research suggests laughter is not always the best medicine. The British Medical Journal study found sudden laughter and too much laughter can harm health in a number of ways. The force of laughing can cause headaches, dislocate jaws, make hernias protrude, lead to incontinence, prompt asthma attacks, provoke cardiac arrhythmia, syncope, or even emphysema.
Chinese Medicine thinks Joy and happiness may hurt the heart; that means too much laughter might actually be harmful for you.
Therefore, with regards to laughing too much, people should heed the following concerns:
- For pregnant people, laughing increases abdominal pressure, possibly leading to premature labor or abortion.
- While eating or drinking, laughing might make food or water enter the trachea, causing coughing or choking.
- After a big meal, too much laughter leads to possible increased risk of appendicitis or acute volvulus.
- For hypertension patients, their high blood pressure will cause a high-pitched laugh, but also increase the risk of brain hemorrhage.
- For people recovering from instances of brain hemorrhage or cerebral infarction, laughing loudly might cause a recurrence of these previous instances.
- Surgery patients, especially those who have undergone operations on the chest, abdomen, heart, and blood vessels, might find laughing an impairment to the healing of the wound and a cause of increased postoperative pain.
- For Hernia patients, laughing will increase abdominal pressure, enlarging the hernia sac, which therefore brings about a worsening of their condition.
- Heart disease patients or those who have had heart attacks should especially avoid laughing to avoid causing or aggravating myocardial ischemia, leading to heart failure and even death.