It’s long been said that laughter can be the best medicine – now research suggests having a giggle can help to ease symptoms of heart disease.
Scientists in Brazil conducted a trial to examine whether ‘laughter therapy’ can improve cardiovascular symptoms.
The trial looked at 26 adults with an average age of 64, who had all been diagnosed with coronary artery disease.
Half were shown comedy programmes every week for three months while the other viewed serious documentaries.
The comedy group saw a 10 per cent improvement in how much oxygen their heart could pump around the body while their arteries’ ability to expand also improved.
The trial looked at 26 adults with an average age of 64, who had all been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (stock image)
There were also significant reductions to inflammatory biomarkers, which indicate how much plaque has built up in the blood vessels and if people are at risk of heart attack or stroke.
Lead author Professor Marco Saffi, of the Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil, said: ‘This study found that laughter therapy could help reduce that inflammation and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
‘Laughter therapy could be implemented in institutions and health systems like the NHS for patients at risk of heart problems.’
Experts believe laughing can help the heart because it releases endorphins, which reduce inflammation and help the heart and blood vessels relax.
It also reduces the levels of stress hormones, which place strain on the heart.