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Laughing all the way to the bank.

Illness is costly, and although prevention is much less so, it isn't always cheap. Also, prevention isn't always enjoyable--as those of us know who have given up this or that pleasant pursuit in favor of a healthier lifestyle. However, there is a preventive measure that is by its very nature enjoyable--laughter.

Laughter is one of God's greatest gifts to his human creatures--and unique to us humans. Apes and monkeys may seem to laugh, but did you ever see one really chuckling or giving forth with a real ho-ho-ho? What a joy it is to see a little baby burst into laughter.

It doesn't take a gelotologist to tell us that laughter makes us feel good. (What? You never heard of a gelotologist? Well, then, how about a gelotherapist? No, it's not the hospital dietitian who sends up all that rabbery green stuff on your tray.) A gelotologist is a specialist in laughter-not a comedian, but one who studies the effect of laughter on the human body. (From the Greek gelos, which means--you guessed it"laughter.")

Dr. William Fry of Stanford University is a well-known gelotologist. His most recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that laughter increases heart rate and hormone production, and also improves muscle tone and circulation.

You can contact one of the following organizations if you're really serious about laughing it up: The American Association for Therapeutic Humor, 1163 Shermer Road, Northbrook, IL 60062 or Humor Project, 110 Spring Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Theft telephone numbers are, respectively, 1-708291-0211 and 1-518-587-8770.

The AATH publishes a bibliography on laughter therapy ands quarterly newsletter, Laugh It Up. Humor Project publishes a quarterly magazine, Laughing Matters, and helps to organize seminars on the value of laughter in the workplace. However, you don't really need professional help or group therapy to put laughter to work in your life. There are some really funny movies and TV shows around. Besides, a good browse through your local bookstore should turn up a book or two that will not only liven your evening, but provide some good material for your next social gathering. (If you're a golfer, look for a gem that just crossed our desk--How to Line Up Your Fourth Putt by Bobby Rusher.)
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Title Annotation:can be good for your health
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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