It’s no fun being ill, but researchers believe laughter could be the key to a quick recovery by stimulating the diaphragm and increasing blood flow around the body
A five year study on patients with leg ulcers has found that laughing could play a vital part in aiding recovery by inducing blood flow around the body and speeding up the healing process.
The University of Leeds School of Healthcare found that laughing increased the recovery of patients with leg ulcers more than when hi-tech treatments like ultrasound therapy were used.
The research published by the British Medical Journal says: ‘Forget technology. The best prescription for patients with venous leg ulcers is good quality nursing care and the occasional belly laugh.’
In the UK alone, around 500,000 people suffer from recurrent leg ulcers, common in people with varicose veins or mobility problems, with the condition becoming increasingly prevalent due to growing obesity levels.
Professor Andrea Nelson says: ‘The key to care with this group of patients is to stimulate blood flow back up the legs to the heart. The best way to do that is with compression bandages and support stockings coupled with advice on diet and exercise.
‘Believe it or not, having a really hearty chuckle can help too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body.’
Previous studies have also shown that laughter can ward off heart disease by bringing down stress hormone levels.