Is Laughter the Best Medicine? For Infertility, It Might Just Be...

clown photo

Image credit: Mark Crossfield, used under Creative Commons license.

We talk a lot about natural medicine and well-being here on TreeHugger. Whether it's herbal remedies for stress or the public health benefits of cycling, there is no doubt that there is more to keeping our bodies functioning properly than a simple reliance on conventional medicines. But what about laughter? It seems pretty obvious that laughter would be good for your mental health, but can it have physiological benefits too? One study out of Israel suggests that it can certainly help in conceiving children. According to the Guardian, researchers studying women at an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) clinic saw a huge increase in conception rates from 20% to 36% among patients who received a 15-minute visit from a "medical clown" following their procedure. While these findings are very preliminary, the scientists conducting the study suggest that laughter may be acting as a stress-release, thus aiding a successful outcome:

"Friedler said he got the idea for the study after reading about the potential physiological impact of laughter as a "natural anti-stress mechanism".

"Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are incredibly stressed," said Friedler, who is based at Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Zrifin, Israel."

Who knows what else a good belly laugh might help us with. It's certainly true, as the researchers told the Guardian, that laughter might just be the least invasive medical intervention there can be. (Assuming you aren't scared of clowns...)

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