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Senior Pastor's Ponderings...

My friendly cardiologist said to me the other day, “Dr. Williams’ laughter is the best medicine for the heart. A good chuckle is enough to expand cardiac tissue and increase the flow of oxygen through the body, thus exercising a weakened heart.” He had read a study before he saw me and desired me to know that he appreciated my “joyful” attitude each time he encountered me.

Scientists in Brazil set out to prove that “laughter therapy” can improve cardiovascular health and easy symptoms of heart disease. Professor Marco Saffi said, “Our study found that laughter therapy increased the functional capacity of the cardio-vascular system.”

Researchers looked at 26 adults at an average age of 64 who had previously been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Every week for three months, half of the group viewed comedy programs while the other half watched serious documentaries about topics such as the Amazon rainforest or politics.

Results showed that the group who watched comedies had a 10% advancement in the amount of oxygen the heart could pump into the body as well as an improvement in their arteries’ ability to expand. Blood testing also detected notable reductions in inflammatory biomarkers, which can indicate if people are at risk for heart attack or stroke and show how much plaque is built up in blood vessels.

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It is believed that laughter has this effect because it releases endorphins, which are needed to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce strain on the heart by keeping stress hormones low. Saffi said, “This study found that laughter therapy is a good intervention that could help reduce that inflammation and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. People should try to do things that make them laugh at least twice a week. Laughing helps people feel happier overall.”

The writer of Proverbs 17:22 – a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. A happy heart produces good health, but a heavy spirit can drag you down.

I think, I will spend more time with my “silly dawg – Mr. Paddy” as he brings great laughter to my life and is good for my heart!

+PD

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