They say laughter is the best medicine and while that is certainly true for our mental health — laughing releases endorphins, which can boost the mood! — it’s also wildly true for our physical health. Laughing requires more oxygen intake so, in a way, it’s like its own form of breathwork. It can also even help temporarily relieve pain. But, perhaps one of the most interesting things about laughter is how it can help the body detox.
When we laugh, we essentially cultivate a sidekick for the lymphatic system, which is connected to many important functions of the body. Up ahead, find out how laughter benefits the lymphatic system for improved health and well-being.
The Lymphatic System
We know that the lymphatic system is an important part of health and can even have some external results, too. But, what exactly is it? “The lymphatic system is part of the immune system,” says Miss Lymph founder Sabrina Sweet, LMT. “It’s responsible for protecting our body from foreign toxins, maintaining fluid levels, and dumping out excess water and cellular waste,” she explains. According to research, the lymphatic system plays an important role in the body, but if it doesn’t function properly — aka, it doesn’t naturally move those toxins out — it can lead to a number of diseases.
Lymphatic drainage is a hot topic on social media and the world of wellness alike. A big reason for that is because of how important drainage is for the lymph. “When our lymphatic system is blocked or compromised, it can lead to swelling, disease, illness, infection, lymphedema, and so much more,” Sweet explains.
The lymphatic system can naturally drain itself but there are ways to improve drainage in the name of a healthy system and, in turn, a healthy body. One of those ways is laughter.
Laughter for the Lymph
While massage and dry brushing are some common ways to promote lymphatic drainage at home, having a good laugh can also do the trick. Below are three ways laughter benefits the lymphatic system.
Immune Cell Function
With its connection to the immune system, the lymph has an important role in keeping our bodies healthy. But, laughter can also directly impact the immunity through the lymph. According to Sweet, “laughing can increase our immune cells, which can help fight disease and infections.”
Parasympathetic Nervous System
In our fast-paced world, many of us are looking for more ways to wind down and enter that Parasympathetic nervous system (or, the rest and digest state) — and laughter can help get you there. Sweet says because laughter decreases stress, it helps us not only feel good, but it can also put us back into the restful bliss of the Parasympathetic nervous system. “Our body should be in a parasympathetic mode to promote lymphatic drainage and laughing [which is also considered diaphragm breathing] can activate that which is so important for our physical and mental health,” Sweet explains.
The act of laughing also requires muscle movements, which are necessary for stimulating the natural flow and drainage of the lymphatic system. So, in a way, laughing at a joke or with your friends is up there with other lymphatic drainage tools such as dry brushing, gua sha, rebounding on a trampoline, and body massage. The act of laughing literally pumps the circulation of the lymphatic system and helps the body further eliminate waste and toxins from the body’s tissues.
Giggling over something funny might be a great and natural (not to mention: completely free) way to stimulate lymphatic drainage but it’s not the only way to detox the body through the lymphatic system. Sweet says there are many ways to promote this natural elimination process on a daily basis. One common one is a specific massage that targets lymphatic drainage. But there are other ways to drain the lymph, including:
Gua Sha: This massage tool — which is typically made of jade stone — is a great way to promote lymphatic drainage in the complexion, as well as the body.
Jumping on a Trampoline: Bouncing up and down on a trampoline is another great way to promote lymphatic drainage. Even lightly jumping up and down for a few minutes at a time can benefit the lymph.
Workout: Just the act of moving your body and muscles alone can help trigger lymphatic drainage and benefits all of your vital systems, including the cardiovascular system, immune system, and lymphatic system. And you don’t have to commit to strenuous activities either. According to Sweet, yoga or a simple stretch routine can also do the trick.
Infrared Saunas: Infrared saunas are another way to kickstart your body’s natural detoxification process. Sweating it out in a sauna gets your heart pumping — as if you are working out — and, therefore helps promote lymphatic drainage.
Hot Detox Baths: Similar to saunas, a detoxifying soak in the bath can heat the body up and get the blood flowing, which helps the lymph further rid your temple of toxins.
Drinking Herbal Tea: Herbal teas are a natural diuretic, which helps kickstart your body’s elimination process.
It’s no secret that the wellness world is obsessed with lymphatic drainage — and now we know why. And, while common lymphatic drainage efforts like dry brushing and working out can prove to be a fantastic way to get your system moving, a little laughter can go a long way.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.