Laughter and mediation can be an effective care giving and self-care tool. The mind, the heart and the whole body all benefit from its regular exercise. Gelotology which is the physiological study of laughter depicts that laughing is more than just the movement and voice of a person. Seemingly, laughter requires coordination of various muscles in the body. When all these muscles coordinate, laughter increases heart rate, blood pressure and changes breathing. As a reaction to particular stimuli, laughter serves as an emotional balancing mechanism that enables people clarify their intentions while providing expressive context of conversation. Studies show that laughter helps protect the heart by regulating its rate for pumping blood (Hofmann, 2011, p. 113).
Mediation and laughter are among factors that affect the response and control of heart rate. Ostensibly, there are two distinct factors involved in the management of heart rate; extrinsic and intrinsic controls. To start with, intrinsic regulation of the heart rate is as a result of the distinctive nature of cardiac issues, alongside regulating itself, without direction, it also maintains its own rhythm. Extrinsic controls on the other hand are the regulations which occur from both the commands which come from the nervous system and from hormonal responses, that is; the autonomic nervous system and the central nervous system. Consequently, extrinsic regulations are responsible for causing rapid changes in the heart rate due to the chemicals that are bound by direct action or in the blood that go to the heart (Hanjalic, 2005, p. 54). One good example of this is the measure of changes in heart rate, particularly when one is thrilled or emotions are said to feel or said without contraction of muscles. This means that, facial expressions and sensation without uttering words intrinsically increase heart rate. A different scenario is when one is watching a comedy with a heart rate monitor on, the heart rate literally jumps during funny episodes. There is no cardio respiratory or cardiovascular change resulting from changes in heart rate, on the face of it, it is simply the effect on the nerves responding to an external experience and heart of chemicals as well.
Apparently, the body’s cardiovascular control center is located in the ventral-lateral medulla. This where the heart rate starts to speed up if activated by the card accelerator or slows if activated by the Cardio inhibitory center. Two channels of the autonomic nervous system instigate the parasympathetic and sympathetic components. The role of the parasympathetic components is to decrease heart rate. Also, neurons discharge the neurohormone acetylcholine which is responsible for inhibiting heart rate. Bradycardia is the slowing of heart rate. The combination of the chemical and neural components regulates heart rates as well as other functions of the heart. As one starts laughing or engaging in mediation in heart rate 1-3, heart rate literally increases as a result of termination of parasympathetic stimulation. The heart rate is found to also increase due to the direct activation of the sympathetic Cardio-accelerator nerves.
Mediation and laughter excite the relationship between the parasympathetic depressor and the sympathetic accelerators neurons. Seemingly, the vagus nerves carry around 80% of the parasympathetic fibers whose role is to slow heart rate. Values of the heart rate change and slow with increased vagal dominance. In order to control over heart rate during mediation and laughter, the central nervous system plays a key role. When one starts some engagement pattern, impulses are sent by the nervous system through the cardiovascular center in the medulla. There is a quick and coordinated response of both the blood vessels and heart to change tissue perfusion and levels of blood pressure in order to respond to the requirements.
Involvement of the central command with an anticipatory heart rate is a good example. Before an event starts, if a person enthusiastically anticipates with excitement, heart rate increases dramatically without necessarily making a single muscular movement. Before such an activity, one’s heart rate or anticipatory heart rate just before exercise is an averaged experiment that increases heart rates to 140% in anticipation of the initiation of a 50-yard dash. The element that the body increases heart rate particularly in anticipation is important since it provides for the speedy mobilization of its reserves in the body by redwing the body. Studies show that lower anticipatory heart rate changes occur due to the long event. Heart rate is arguably one of the quickest changes occurring as a direct reflection of such change which results in disequilibrium. For instance, drugs and narcotics cause the heart rate to drop or bradycardia. In addition, the antiarrhythmic agents such as procaine administered to patients to improve their mood thereby increasing heart rate.
Just like laughter, mediation also affects hear rate. Various forms of meditation have over thousands of years been practiced throughout the world with numerous techniques. Through mediation, a stream of consciousness is temporarily suspended. It maintains enthusiasms in a person causing some form of stimulation. This stimulation increases heart rates greatly. Also Yoga which enhances laughter is quite a unique exercise that combines laughter exercises with Yogic breathing that brings in more oxygen making an individual feel great and happy. In Yoga, ten minutes of hearty laughter are equivalent to thirty minutes on a rowing machine. Primarily, laughing enhances endorphins hormones that make one feel good. During this exercise, heart rates increase as one gets more involved in the activity. In addition, deep breathing and laughter exercises lowers blood pressure and it greatly reduces minor and major risks of a heart attack (Katsis, 2006, p. 92).
Mediation is a powerful tool for tapping into the body’s rejuvenation and built-in healing ability. The relaxation that comes along with mediation is so intense that the body enters a very deep sleep and later a lot of joy and happiness which is accompanied by laughter. During this time, the mind slows and heart rates increase gradually. The senses of the heart are quite profoundly affected by mediation. Such engagements cause the individual to succumb fears, worries and doubtful thoughts ushering in euphoria accompanied by laughter. In all these instances, the heart is functioning significantly as heart rate increase. There is no cardiorespiratory or cardiovascular change resulting from changes in heart rate, on the face of it, it is simply the effect on the nerves responding to an external experience and heart of chemicals as well. As one starts laughing or engaging in mediation in heart rate 1-3, heart rate literally increases as a result of termination of parasympathetic stimulation (Lutz, 2009, p. 19). The heart rate is found to also increase due to the direct activation of the sympathetic Cardio-accelerator nerves. Studies show that laughter helps protect the heart by regulating its rate for pumping blood.
Hanjalic, A., & Xu, L. Q. (2005). Affective video content representation and modeling. Multimedia, IEEE Transactions on, 7(1), 143-154.
Hofmann, S. G., Grossman, P., & Hinton, D. E. (2011). Loving-kindness and compassion meditation: Potential for psychological interventions. Clinical psychology review, 31(7), 1126-1132.
Katsis, C. D., Ganiatsas, G., & Fotiadis, D. I. (2006). An integrated telemedicine platform for the assessment of affective physiological states. Diagnostic Pathology, 1(1), 16.
Lutz, A., Greischar, L. L., Perlman, D. M., & Davidson, R. J. (2009). BOLD signal in insula is differentially related to cardiac function during compassion meditation in experts vs. novices. Neuroimage, 47(3), 1038-1046.
Trieger, R. (2011). Open Heart Yoga. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 27(2), 110-115.