What Laughter and Chiropractic Care Have in Common
I’m sure you are familiar with the saying “laughter is the best medicine,” but did you know chiropractic care and laughing share a lot of the same benefits? Similar to chiropractic care, laughter is a natural, drug-free stress and pain reliever that has the ability to promote healing in your mind, body and soul! So what exactly do these two have in common? National Humor Month has inspired us to take a deeper look at what laughter and chiropractic care have in common by looking at the mind, body and soul!
How Laughter and Chiropractic Care Affect Your Mind
Relieve stress and anxiety.
Laughter can reduce the level of stress hormones, in turn cutting off stress and anxiety. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones in your body may result in a higher immune system performance! Comedy can also help you retain and recall information. Loma Linda University found that participants who watched funny videos had a 43% improvement in recall abilities versus a 20% improvement in those asked to sit silently.
Chiropractic care can help you manage stress by focusing on the root of the nervous system, the spine. Releasing muscle tension will relieve stress on the skeleton system and spine. A chiropractic massage will also help lower blood pressure, promote healthy sleep and boost your immune system.
Increase blood flow.
An increase of blow flow is not only beneficial to the body, but also the mind. Increasing blow flow to the brain gives you more energy and a clear mind. Think about those moments at work when you have a total brain block. Get up, move around, and take some deep breaths to get some blood flowing throughout your entire body before you return to work with a clear mindset!
The University of Maryland conducted a study on the effects of comedies vs. dramas on your blood vessels. The group that watched a comedy had a healthy blood flow through their blood vessels which appeared to expand and contract easily. The group that watched the drama tended to tense up, restricting blood flow through their blood vessels. In conclusion, laughter can help your blood vessels function better!
Chronic stress can take its toll on the body and lead to built up muscle tension, headaches and migraines. While we do not know what causes migraines directly, researchers do know that it involves changes in the blood flow to the brain. Second only to back pain, headaches are one of the most common conditions managed by chiropractors. Chiropractic care can help you manage headaches and migraines by focusing on the neck where the base of the head lies. The nerves in this area can become irritated and not only cause pain but also affect the blood flow to the brain. Relieving pressure in the back of the neck and upper back can open up blood flow to the brain and ease tension in that area, decreasing your chances of chronic headaches.
Improve your mood.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, your mind’s natural feel-good chemicals. An increase in endorphins can increase your overall sense of well-being and personal satisfaction.
Our brains are wired to reward us for healthy behaviors and activities by naturally producing “feel good” chemicals and neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. These are considered natural opioids. Opioid receptors in the brain help control automatic processes such as respiration, responses to outside stimuli, responses to pain or hunger, and even the understanding of action and reward. This part of our brain is considered the reward circuit. When it is kick-started, the brain realizes that something positive is happening and it stores that memory or moment.
In a similar manner, chiropractic care can boost your mood. While most people think of chiropractic care as pertaining to muscle and joint problems, regular adjustments may actually help to boost your overall mood and help with mood swings. A chiropractic adjustment or massage can release built up tension in your nerves, joints, and skeletal system. This stimulation can help to decrease levels of certain bad mood-causing hormones such as cortisol, and can increase levels of smile-inducing ones such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
How Laughter and Chiropractic Care Affect Your Body
I’m sure we are all familiar with the saying “laughter is the best medicine,” and though there is not a cure-all prescription, laughing is a drug-free dose of goodness for your entire body! When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. T-cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation!
Have you considered a massage over medicine? The medical community is more accepting of massage therapy than ever before. A massage is the therapeutic manipulation of the body’s soft tissues using a series of pressured movements. Massage therapy can reduce the body’s production of cytokines, proteins that contribute to inflammation and stimulate mitochondria, the energy-producing units in cells that aid in cell function and repair. Cell regeneration allows your body to replace damaged cells keeping your organs and skin healthy and rejuvenated!
Relaxes the body.
It’s important to understand that your body reacts to stress. It’s not just a feeling you emote, it’s a true chemical reaction. When you feel stressed your heart can begin to race, you become a bit more sensitive, your blood pressure increases and your body’s fight or flight response can get triggered. Laughter can totally relax the body by removing the feeling of pain, stress, tension, etc.
Laughter also creates a chemical reaction in the body that produces awesome short and long-term benefits to promote relaxation. Laughter influences you to pump oxygen-rich blood through the body, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, suppresses stressors, and soothes tension, resulting in a feeling of relaxation.
Chiropractor focus on this same chemical process to promote relaxation! Chiropractic care can use a variety of techniques to ease tension, stimulate your body and allow blood flow to ease areas of pain or discomfort. Chiropractic treatments remove subluxations and misalignments that cause pain in your spine. Pain makes it hard to relax, especially chronic pain.
Additionally, pain in your back can affect just about any other area of your body because your spine is the trunk of the body and the lower back serves as your support structure. Chiropractic care specializes in relieving pain in these areas which allows your nerves, blood, and other cells to transfer fluidly and easily throughout your body, promoting relaxation.
Boost your energy level.
Laughing reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more. The Mayo Clinic has reported short-term benefits of laughter such as enhancing the intake of oxygen-rich air which in turn stimulates your organs, activates your stress response, and soothes tension.
The healthier your body is, the more natural energy it can create. Chiropractic care focuses on the body’s general state of health and how to help the body help itself. By repositioning the joints and vertebrae in your support structure into their proper place, the muscles can relax and energy can flow freely through your body. Your body is a dynamic, living machine that is constantly communicating, rebuilding, and processing external influences. Take care of your body and it will undoubtedly do the rest!
Boost the immune system.
High-stress levels are often associated with a low immune system response rate. Some studies have shown humor to raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells. Additionally, negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect different areas on the body. Negative thoughts can lead to stress which can then lead to insufficient sleep, unnecessary tension, and a vulnerable immune system. On the other hand, positive thoughts can release chemical reactions which help fight stress and boost the immune system!
Chiropractic care addresses the immune system through the nervous system. The nervous system controls and regulates organ, tissue and cell functions throughout your body, and is constantly sending signals to and from different regions of the body and the brain. If a person has “subluxation,” or misalignment in the spine, it could interfere with their nervous system and weaken the immune system.
Not only does it distract your from aches, laughter also releases endorphins, a natural painkiller, and suppresses pain inducing hormones. It’s hard to feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. A British study concluded that just 15 minutes of laughter can increase your pain tolerance by 10 percent as a result of feel-good chemicals like endorphins in the brain.
Chiropractic care does not just help relieve pain, but helps promote healing in areas of pain by first discovering the cause of pain. Chiropractic treatment varies depending on your cause of pain, but usually involves removing inflammation, promoting blood flow to areas that need healing, alleviating compression on pinched nerves, and removing build up tension.
How Laughter and Chiropractic Care Affect Your Soul
Protects the heart.
Laughter is a cardio workout! Combining a “hearty” laugh with movement like waving your arms can boost your heart rate, similar to the effects of exercising. An increased heart rate will pump oxygen-rich blood trough the body giving your organs a burst of life!
Regular visits to the chiropractor can be beneficial for your cardiovascular system by reducing heart stressors such as chest pain, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety and even heart attacks.
“Evidence also shows that adjustments of the first cervical vertebra, also known as the atlas, during a heart attack may actually ease the heart attack from progressing, although being transported to the nearest medical facility for life-saving measures is still required.” -The Joint
Boost your relationships.
Laughter is infectious. People are drawn to laughter and positive environments. Laughter can make it easier to cope with difficult situations and connect with others. Laughter has also been recognized to help people suffering from depression and anxiety by reducing tension and stress. A study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International found that laughter therapy reduced depression in elderly patients by inducing a feeling of well-being and improving their social interactions.
Chiropractic care can also improve your relationships by improving a sense of well-being and social interactions. When you are living pain-free, you are more likely to get up and get active, increasing your chances of interacting with others and going out with friends. When your body feels good, you feel good! There’s no deeper science to this one. Just the nature of feeling good!
Promote relaxation and sleep.
Laughter helps the pituitary gland release pain-suppressing opiates. It also helps suppress stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, so if pain or stress is getting in the way of your sleep, you may need a good laugh.
Norman Cousins focused on the benefits of laughter in his memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, and found that a diet of comedies helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of both laughter and chiropractic care is the ability to promote natural healing and an overall sense of well-being. When you feel good, have a sense of well-being and personal satisfaction, it creates a chemical response in your body that can benefit your mind, body and soul. Don’t let pain, stress, or anxiety control your life. Take control, lead yourself to laughter, and find ways to promote healing in your life, today.