More laughter = more oxygen, the lifeline of our system

Oxygen is one of the primary catalysts for biological energy in the human body. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. It is an element of intracellular energy that’s absolutely necessary to sustain human life. It plays an important role in the circulatory and respiratory systems. It purifies the blood by removing the toxic wastes in the blood stream.

To keep the lungs healthy and provide enough oxygen for the body to perform at peak levels, one needs to take deeper breaths and flush the stale air from the lungs. A normal inhalation fills just 25% (tidal volume) of the total lung capacity. The remaining 75% (residual volume held in the lower 2/3’s of our lungs) remains filled with old stale air. Respiration becomes even shallower when compounded by stress.

Laughter helps to provide longer exhalations, thus ridding the lungs of residual air and enriching the blood with ample supplies of oxygen, the lifeline of our system.

When you breathe shallowly:

  • You are making your heart work more because most of the gas exchange takes place in the lower lungs, and it has to beat more to achieve the same input of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide;
  • You do not help your lymphatic system much (it is the engine of your immune system and what keeps you healthy), as that system has no pump. To move the lymph you need to either exercise and/or breathe deeper.

An easy (and most enjoyable!) way to sustain deep exhales is to laugh.

Hearty extended laughter (easy to achieve and sustain with Laughter Wellness and Laughter Yoga) helps to provide longer exhalation, thus ridding the lungs of residual air, which is then replaced by fresh air containing a higher level of oxygen. The secret to breathing deeper is to exhale more fully. Laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect. This is especially helpful for people who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as asthma.

As you breathe deeply during a hearty laugh, saturating your lungs with oxygenated blood, you may have to cough, sputter or spit. This is due to things loosening up in your respiratory system and getting a good fresh cleaning.

What the experts say about the importance of oxygen

  • Deep breathing techniques which increase oxygen to the cell are the most important factors in living a disease-free and energetic life… Remember: where cells get enough oxygen, cancer will not, cannot occur.” – Dr. Otto Warburg (President, Institute of Cell Physiology, Nobel Prize Winner. Dr. Warburg is the only person to ever win the Nobel Prize twice in medicine, and he was nominated for a third.)
  • Oxygen plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the immune system. We can look at oxygen deficiency as the single greatest cause of all diseases.” – Stephen Levine (Antioxidant Adaptation—Its Role in Free Radical Pathology, 1985.)
  • Breathing correctly is the key to better fitness, muscle strength, stamina, and athletic endurance.” – Dr. Michael Yessis (Dr. Michael Yessis, PhD, President Sports Training Institute, Fitness Writer – Muscle and Fitness Magazine.)
  • All body functions are breathing related. Proper oxygen delivery to all parts of your body is crucial to health and well-being. Aerobic exercise increases the body’s available oxygen and therefore promotes wellness. Delivering oxygen to the body is the responsibility of the respiratory system. Breathing is the process by which air enters the bloodstream, by way of the lungs. Thus, proper breathing, and correcting common breathing disorders, is the ultimate form of aerobics.” – Dr. Robert Fried (Breath Connection, Insight Books, 1990, p. 52.)
  • “(Belly) Laughter creates convulsive reactions, which free up muscular tension within the body, and charge and mobilize the voice and breathing.” – Alexander Lowen, father of Bioenergetic Psychotherapy

Relevant studies

Here is a good place to start:

  • Humor, laughter, learning, and health! A brief review (Savage et al., 2017): Discusses how laughter and humor can positively impact health, including respiratory and cardiovascular systems, by decreasing stress hormones and increasing positive emotions. Read more.
  • Laughter and Humor Therapy in Dialysis (Bennett et al., 2014): Reviews the evidence of laughter and humor therapy's effects on the respiratory function and overall health, suggesting potential applications in the dialysis patient population. Read more.
  • Effects of humor and laughter on psychological functioning, quality of life, health status, and pulmonary functioning among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Lebowitz et al., 2011): Found that sense of humor is associated with positive psychological functioning and enhanced quality of life in COPD patients, but laughing aloud may worsen pulmonary function due to lung hyperinflation. Read more.
  • Assessment of laughter by diaphragm electromyogram (Kimata et al., 2009): Introduced a new methodology using diaphragm electromyogram (EMG) to accurately measure laughter, aiding in the detailed analysis of its healthy effects. Read more.
  • Impact of laughter on air trapping in severe chronic obstructive lung disease (Brutsche et al., 2008): Showed that smiling induced by humor interventions reduced hyperinflation in patients with severe COPD. Read more.