SUNDAY, April 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Laughter triggers
brain waves similar to those associated with meditation, according
to a small new study.
It also found that other forms of stimulation produce different
types of brain waves.
The study included 31 people whose brain waves were monitored
while they watched humorous, spiritual or distressing video clips.
While watching the humorous videos, the volunteers' brains had high
levels of gamma waves, which are the same ones produced during
meditation, researchers found.
During the spiritual videos, the participants' brains showed
higher levels of alpha brain waves, similar to when a person is at
rest. The distressing videos caused flat brain wave bands, similar
to when a person feels detached, nonresponsive or doesn't want to
be in a certain situation.
Researchers were led by Lee Berk, an associate professor in the
School of Allied Health Professions, and an associate research
professor of pathology and human anatomy in the School of Medicine,
at Loma Linda University, in California.
The study was scheduled to be presented Sunday at the
Experimental Biology meeting held in San Diego. The data and
conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
"What we have found in our study is that humor associated with
mirthful laughter sustains high-amplitude gamma-band oscillations.
Gamma is the only frequency found in every part of the brain," Berk
said in a university news release.
"What this means is that humor actually engages the entire brain
-- it is a whole brain experience with the gamma wave band
frequency and humor, similar to meditation, holds it there; we call
this being 'in the zone,'" Berk explained.
He said that with laughter, "it's as if the brain gets a
workout." This effect is important because it "allows for the
subjective feeling states of being able to think more clearly and
have more integrative thoughts," Berk said. "This is of great value
to individuals who need or want to revisit, reorganize or rearrange
various aspects of their lives or experiences, to make them feel
whole or more focused."
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine has more about