Is Laughter a Real Rheumatoid Arthritis Medicine?

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New significance to RA, medicine, and laughter

If you’ve been on the blog more than five minutes, you know I love to laugh.  When I was a kid, I remember Dick Van Dyke singing that with Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. When they laughed, a funny thing happened: they floated “higher than air.”  

Maybe you’ve heard it said: Laughter is good medicine. Did you know that actually comes from the Bible? I can hardly believe the second part! “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22. Gives new meaning to “funny bone.”

“Lol” found to be Rheumatoid Arthritis medicine

Last week, I was doing this pain in the neck pain threshold research. I saw this “mirthful laughter” study. I think “mirthful” means you have to “lol” / laugh out loud. Apparently laughing really hard is even better for you – just like Dick and Julie said!

Inflammatory cytokines were measured in the blood of RA’ers before and after watching Rakugo. Rakugo is a type of Japanese standup comedy in which the person sits. But is still funny.  As long as you speak Japanese.

Anyway, there was a measurable effect to the laughter on the cytokines of the RA patients tested. It is interesting that they divided the patients into two groups: those with easier to control RA and those they called the “difficult-to-control” (recalcitrant Rheumatoid Arthritis). The way in which laughter affected RA patients’ inflammatory chemistry was dependent upon their RA disease activity. “The difficult-to-control RA group is under more stress than the easily controlled RA group and mirthful laughter can be used as a means to improve mental condition.”

It was not all good though. Seems those with tough to control RA have it tough all the way around. Certain pro-inflammatory cytokines were increased with mirthful laughter. Still, I feel like my four year old watching Blue’s Clues shouting “A clue. A clue. I found a clue.” Why would this tough-type RA respond differently to laughter?  Would that help us know why recalcitrant RA responds differently to treatment?

Bonus: We spent about an hour watching Rakugo videos looking for a funny one to post here. All of the ones in English were painfully unfunny. So, we spent about 3 hours watching animal videos until we found one that made us laugh out loud.  See the elephant jumping on a trampoline video below. 

Helpful links:

Recommended reading:

 

Elephant Jumping on Trampoline

You know I ♥ elephants!

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 10:07 am and is filed under Can we laugh now?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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