Positive Emotions:  Research Article

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The Effect of Mirthful Laughter on Stress and Natural Killer Cell Activity

CITATION:  Bennett, M. P., (2003). The effect of mirthful laughter on stress and natural killer cell activity.  Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Aliso Viejo: Mar/Apr 2003.Vol.9, Iss. 2;  pg. 38, 7.

ABSTRACT:  A recent survey of rural Midwestern cancer patients revealed that humor was one of the most frequently used complementary therapies. Psychoneuroimmunology research suggests that, in addition to its established psychological benefits, humor may have physiological effects on immune functioning. Thirty-three healthy adult women viewed a humorous video while subjects in the distraction control group viewed a tourism video. Laughter may reduce stress and improve NK cell activity. As low NK cell activity is linked to decreased disease resistance and increased morbidity in persons with cancer and HIV disease, laughter may he a useful cognitive-behavioral intervention.


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