Body & Fitness

Giggle along to yoga for a healthy heart

Yoga and smiling

Yoga and smiling

New research shows that laughter – or specifically “laughter yoga” – can improve mood and boost heart health. In a University of Arizona study, patients with various health conditions took 10 sessions of the 20-minute group treatment, which involved breathing and stretching

exercises as well as simulated laughter.

The researchers measured the patients’ heart rates as well as blood pressure and mood. There was also a control group, which discussed aspects of healthy living and conducted some stretching exercises.

Results showed the “laughter” group had improved mood and a better-controlled heart rate. The researchers believe that laughter and stretching boost endorphins – “feel-good” chemicals – which can help to reduce patients’ heart rates. The therapy may also reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Previous studies have also suggested laughter can ease pain, credited to raised endorphins and lower cortisol levels.

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