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Laughter isn’t best medicine

Published Dec 15, 2013, 8:15 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 12:14 am IST
Laughing uncontrollably can cause ruptures, hernias.

Hyderabad: The so called benefits of laughter may not be applicable to all, states a recent research paper published in the British Medical Journal’s Christmas 2013: Food for Thought issue.

Scientists evaluated reports from 1946 to 2013 and concluded that “laughter is not 100 per cent beneficial”. The study says that the harm that it can cause is dose related. Uncontrolled laughter can even lead to cardiac and oesophagus rupture, abdominal hernia, asthma attacks, headaches, jaw dislocation and incontinence.


But there have also been hundreds of other studies, which have held that laughter is a good medicine as it relieves stress and keeps blood pressure normal.

Dr Bhaskar Rao, cardiologist at the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences said, “Too much laughing is bad as it creates pressure on the abdomen. Those who have underlying problems can have ruptures in weak abdominal valves and it can aggravate bowel movements. Sudden hyperactivity is bad for the heart. It can cause breathlessness and fatigue.”

Doctors believe that after laughter sessions, some people have sudden migraine-type headaches caused by laughing, dancing and jumping.

However, some doctors, like cardiologist Dr Ramesh Gudapati of Star Hospitals, differ. He said, “In general, laughter therapy brings down blood pressure, decreases stress hormone levels and increases nitric oxide levels. This is beneficial as it helps avoid clotting. It increases immunity.”

But those suffering from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or breathing issues must not practice laughter therapy, says Dr C. Vijay Kumar, pulmonologist at Yashoda Hospitals. Urologist Dr K.U.R. Prasad said that stress incontinence is pathologically connected and had no connection with laughter.

Psychiatrist Dr P.K.N. Choudhary of Chetana Hospital said, “Laughter works best in case of minor stress. It gives relief as it is carried out in a group. It can be considered as a preventive therapy.”

Location: Andhra Pradesh