Monday, October 26, 2015


An easy-to-fill prescription for health

As we watch the spectacular fall foliage reach its peak and beyond, we are reminded that flu and cold season is almost upon us. Besides getting our annual flu vaccine, we want to strengthen our immune systems to provide the best protection possible.

The holiday season is also fast approaching. As the holidays start to ramp up, so does our stress level. We relish in the holiday spirit, but we are also mindful of the ever-growing list of things we must do to organize and prepare.

What could we possibly do to accomplish both of these goals: boosting our immune system while decreasing our stress level at the same time? Funny you should ask. It appears that laughter is really the best prescription for both.

Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have long studied the effects of laughter on the immune system. Their published studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

We aren’t all natural-born comedians, but there is certainly a wealth of resources available to make us laugh, like funny videos, newspaper funny pages, comedy movies, TV sit-coms, and more.

For several years, I have been posting jokes and cartoons on the restroom stall doors at work. It’s impossible not to smile when I hear laughter coming from one of the stalls. So many of my co-workers have told me they look forward to Monday mornings when the new joke of the week is posted.

So here’s a prescription for good health: get a flu shot, simplify our holiday “to-do” list, and get 15 minutes of laughter on a daily basis.

Alice Facente is a community health nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?