Kristine Nyhout writes about the importance of laughter to the health of the human body. She argues that instead of trying to exercise more or eating healthy foods in order to stay healthy, people should try laughing more.
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She argues that many health professionals are now resorting on the use of laughter as an alternative medicine in the cure of diseases.
Although the argument somewhat discredits the usefulness of exercise, proper foods and supplements (vitamins), she sounds convincing as she quotes research that supports her arguments.
It is obvious that exercise is vital for ensuring health. This helps in various ways including maintaining the body weight at healthy levels (normal body weight).
Without exercise, the body weight might reach the overweight, obese or extremely obese mark and this could be very dangerous since it may be associated with various diseases and complications. Exercise keeps the person fit and decreases the risks of diseases.
When exercise is coupled with the choice of proper and healthy foods, the human health is almost guaranteed to improve.
Supplements also play a critical role of increasing the levels of some vital minerals and nutrients when they are insufficient in the body. This helps keep the immune system in a good condition and keep many diseases at bay.
However, the writer was fast to discredit the need of the three (exercise, healthy food and vitamins) arguing that laughter could do better. This may be unrealistic since the exact role of laughter in ensuring health is not clear.
However, she mentions an incident where a patient in pain used laughter successfully to reduce the pain caused by the arthritis-like disease. The usefulness of laughter has also been realised by Joy Van Herwaarde.
She resorted to clowning and has seen its benefits. Herwaarde argues that laughter helps to take the person’s mind off pain and relieves one from loneliness. Her expertise in this area has seen her services being relied upon by old persons who are on their deathbeds.
The author also argues that some scientists have discovered that it helps reduce stress and may affect the production of hormones. The writer’s argument here is based on facts and the views of other health personnel.
Therefore, the argument is convincing enough. Many professionals are studying humour in order to understand its usefulness in ensuring health. Some are also using it to fend off panic attacks in patients.
Nyhout also suggests that laughter boosts creativity and productivity. She believes that hospitals will soon introduce clowns and humour specialists who are trained to make people laugh.
She sees the possibility of such exercises being brought into the workplace wellness seminars. She did not provide any literature that supports her arguments, therefore, it is not convincing. This probably explains why she says that it ‘apparently’ boosts creativity.
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The writer provides evidence of the use of laughter in the cure of disease. She provides an example of a cancer patient, Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick, who survived cancer as she incorporated laughter for therapy.
This discovery (by the patient) led her to see the need to share that knowledge with the government employees and other relevant persons.
This argument sounds convincing since it is based on a person’s experience with a deadly disease. She took up clowning during treatment and experienced the difference as her health stabilised.
Nyhout explains the importance of humour in defusing the patients’ anxiety and changing their attitudes. She provides the case of a particular nurse, Dee Preikschas, who resorted to humour as the tool to provide healing.
She managed to defuse anxiety and change the attitude of a 10-year-old boy who had resisted treatment. The boy had resisted the IV treatment and the nurse decided to use humour.
A ‘magic’ hammer was enough to change all that. It produced some smashing noise at the IV and made the boy laugh. This made him more cooperative and he became cooperative.
The author also explores the use of laughter (humour) in manipulating some physical aspects in order to fend off illnesses. She argues that laughter may help lower the heart rate and the blood pressure, as argued by Barbara Wetmore-Patel.
She also argues that this leads to the increase in T-cell activity that is crucial in the avoidance of diseases. Improved digestion also comes as a result of the power of laughter. This argument is not very convincing since it almost appears as a personal view rather than a scientific (proven) fact.
No statistics or literature supports this allegation. However, she claims that Wetmore-Patel has used it successfully to improve health of the retired persons. In addition, laughter (as she claims) causes the release of endorphins, which are hormones that helps to take away the feeling of pain.
The author argues that laughter may be used as an immunisation. She claims that it may be useful as a preventative measure since it helps keep someone from getting sick. This is made possible with the antibody referred to as ‘immunoglobulin A’.
Apparently, these antibody travel to the salivary glands and prevent viruses from entering. This has been explained to be the usual port of entry. The author uses literature to provide support for this argument. She uses the research by Lefcourt to explain the effects of laughter on the levels of ‘immunoglobulin A’.
The research argues that the levels of this antibody in the saliva differ between those who use humour in a daily basis as compared to those who do not. The levels are higher in those who use humour more.
Normally, the body’s immune system is suppressed when it undergoes a stressful situation. However, the research suggests that humour arouses this state and enables the immune system to continue working effectively.
This argument is convincing because the author quotes the work of Lefcourt, which employs sound research to investigate the effect of laughter in the levels of ‘immunoglobulin A’.
If laughter actually increases the levels of this antibody, then laughter would be a good remedy when it comes to the prevention of disease (viral diseases).
The author also introduces another benefit of laughter in the way it helps to increase the efficiency of breathing and cause the muscles to relax. This information is retrieved from the works of a physiologist in the University of New South Wales.
This shows the authenticity of the information. Therefore, the argument is convincing. The work of this physiologist (David Garlick) also complements the work of Barbara Wetmore-Patel since the physiologist argues that laughter helps decrease heart rate and blood pressure since the muscles are relaxed.
Since the same idea is supported by two professionals, this means that the information is authentic. In conclusion, laughter may be seen to be beneficial to the human health in various respects. However, further research is needed to explain the mechanism that laugher uses to improve health.