You May be Able to Laugh Some Pain Away :Could Hearty Laughing Relieve Pain and Release Endorphins?
You may not be able to laugh all your troubles away but you may be able to laugh some of your pain away. Laughter may release endorphins in the body. Endorphins are chemical strings of amino acids which give a feeling of well being and pain relief. The "high" that people get from exercise and even from acupuncture has been assigned to the release of endorphins as a result of the exercise. Could laughing heartily release endorphins and relieve pain?
Why Should Laughing Release Endorphins?
"Having a good laugh with friends really does help us to deal with pain, suggests a new study. The international research team, led by Oxford University, found that when we laugh properly, as opposed to producing a polite titter, the physical exertion leaves us exhausted and thereby triggers the release of protective endorphins. These endorphins, one of the complex neuropeptide chemicals produced in the brain, manage pain and promote feelings of well being".
Endorphins ("endogenous morphine") are endogenous opioid peptides (short strings of amino acids) that function as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across gaps in brain cells and nerve cells.
Here is what an article in a British medical journal said. "Relaxed social (Duchenne) laughter is associated with feelings of well being and heightened affect, a proximate explanation for which might be the release of endorphins. We tested this hypothesis in a series of six experimental studies in both the laboratory (watching videos) and naturalistic contexts (watching stage performances), using change in pain threshold as an assay for endorphin release. The results show that pain thresholds are significantly higher after laughter than in the control condition. This pain-tolerance effect is due to laughter itself and not simply due to a change in positive affect. We suggest that laughter, through an endorphin-mediated opiate effect, may play a crucial role in social bonding".