How To - See the effects of laughter on our bodies

This is one of the universal mysteries. Laughter is very good for you. What is the purpose of laughter and why do we do it?

Upon laughing, the brain pressures us to do two simultaneous things. One is visual, consisting of specific facial gestures. The second is phonic, with the production of certain sounds. During exuberant laughter, there is a change in many parts of the body including the arm, leg and trunk muscles.

Laughter helps release emotion and tension. People often store emotions rather than express them if something angers, frightens, saddens, stresses, or bores them. Laughter is another way for these emotions to find a way out harmlessly. That's why people who are under stress go to a funny movie or watch a comedian perform on stage -- so they can laugh the negative emotions or tensions away.

It's also how the saying "laughter is the best medicine" was coined.

Why is laughter so contagious? Humans have detectors in their brains that are specifically devoted to laughter. These respond to l...

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