Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Is There a Link Between Meditation and Joyful Laughter?

A recent study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University suggested that joyful laughter, caused by humor, elicits brain-wave frequencies that are similar to those seen in people while they meditate. The study involved 31 individuals who watched 10-minute video clips while attached to an EEG monitor, which measures brain-wave frequency densities. The videos had humorous, spiritual, or distressing tones.

When participants saw humorous videos, their brains produced high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations. Gamma frequencies are the only type of frequency found in every part of the brain, which means that humor engages the entire brain. Researchers have found similar gamma frequency patterns in people who meditate. This finding may fuel further inquiries into exactly how meditation and joyful laughter produce therapeutic effects on a biological level. Previous studies have linked laughter with lower blood pressure, better immune function, and decreased stress.

While watching spiritual videos, participants’ brains produced alpha brain bands similar to those found in individuals at rest. Distressing videos resulted in flat brain waves, which are most commonly seen in individuals who are detached or anxious.

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