ALL THAT ZAZZ
By Mary N. DiZazzo
Make 'em laugh,
Scherzo, scherzo! The all-over beauty treatment. Anti-wrinkle, antioxidant. Just laugh! It's great for stress relief, pain relief, and encourages a good self-image.
Laughter as a means of pain control can be associated with several factors. By reducing muscle tension it distracts from the pain, which has a positive effect on a person's attitude and certainly stimulates the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
Laughter also aids to stimulate the cardiovascular system thereby increasing oxygenation of the blood which further promotes healing.
A quote from the Bible: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." That Old Testament proverb has been taken seriously by scientists who find that laughing may actually help ward off strokes and heart attacks.
Researchers who study laughter at Loma Linda University in California have found that laughter may also use similar mechanisms to help boost the immune system and reduce the amount of inflammation in the body which has been linked to an increased risk of a host of health problems.
Ironically enough, back in the 1930s, humorist Robert Benchley, who poked fun at scientists and academics who took themselves too seriously, wrote a mock analysis, "Why We Laugh – Or Do We?" In a footnote, he wrote "Schwanzleben, in his work 'Humor After Death,' hits on this point indirectly when he says, 'All laughter is a muscular rigidity spasmodically relieved by involuntary twitching. It can be induced by the application of electricity as well as by a so-called joke.' "Little did Benchley know that someday the imaginary Schwanzleben would turn out to be very nearly right.
For a good laugh and to experience the health effects of humor, join my husband and me this weekend for the humor convention Benchley in Boston. Information is available at www.robertbenchley.org.
Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!