Alright, guys, I have some amazing and wonderful news! I was recently blessed with the opportunity to conduct my own little research study on myself on the effects of laughter yoga on white blood cell count and boosting the immune system. You see, I am one of those people that notoriously falls low on the scale of acceptable white blood cell counts. It is not uncommon for me to dip under the lower end of acceptable (usually between 3.5 – 4.0 K/uL, depending on the scale one is using), but even when I am within normal range (between 3.5 and 12.0K/uL depending on scale), I’m still always on the very low end of normal – almost always under 5.0K/uL. This is just my normal, as my doctor has explained to me.
Anyway, after my last physical, my blood results came back, and you guessed it, I was below normal (I was at 3.0 K/uL on a scale in which 4.0K/uL is the lowest endpoint of normal), so I got the call that I had to come back and test again in a month. Now, normally since this is my normal pattern this time of year (fall/winter), I would have waited a little longer than a month to go back and retest till we got to spring/summertime when my counts are usually a bit higher. However, I got an idea – what a perfect opportunity to really test out the numerous research study results that I’ve read about saying that laughter yoga is good at boosting the immune system. I figured it’s always nice to read about these studies, but to see it really works firsthand on myself would be excellent!
In general, laughter, and even more so, laughter yoga and its breathing exercises, is an extremely strong and effective way to boost immunity, the immune system response, and overall wellness and homeostasis in terms of the body’s ability to fight off infections, especially those involving the respiratory system (think colds and flu). It does this in several ways:
- It increases levels of immunoglobulin A, an important antibody that fights bacteria and infections.
- It has a positive effect on lymphocytes (white blood cells) that include B cells (to fight infections) and T cells (to attack viruses and manage immune responses).
- Belly laughter encourages the diaphragm to flutter up and down quite quickly. This encourages lymphatic fluid to shoot lymph up and out of the lymphatic vessels increasing its flow rate dramatically.
- Higher flow rate of lymphatic fluid means more lymphocytes (T-cells, B-cells, natural killer cells, etc.) and higher white blood cell counts, which leads to better overall defense and immune response toward disease and infection.
Thus, I used the same general hypothesis as many of the studies I’ve read about this phenomenon did. That is, if I laugh consistently and more often than I already do over the next few weeks, my white blood cell count should go up. That being said, I was a little skeptical, because like I said – the lower count is my norm this time of year, so not “unhealthy” in my case! But I figured let’s give it a shot and see what happens.
I called my doctor’s office and scheduled a retest for exactly one month from my last test, and I got to laughing! At the time I made the appointment, I was three and a half weeks out from the retest, and I vowed that for the next three and a half weeks, I would do laughter yoga a minimum of two times per day and a minimum of 30 minutes each time. Full disclosure, I did also use a near infrared sauna during this time, which is said to increase WBC count as well, but I have been using the sauna for several years now, and have had times when I tested low while using it religiously, so I don’t “think” that had an effect (the scientist in me is a little bummed that I didn’t take this variable out just to be sure, but it is what it is, and like I said, based on past patterns, I don’t think this had an effect overall…plus, obviously this was just a casual case study I did on myself, so c’est la vie).
Other than that, increasing the amount of laughter I was doing was the only significant change I made for these 3.5 weeks. I didn’t change anything else and just stuck to my normally healthy lifestyle (eating well, good amounts of movement/exercise, resting when needed, prayer and meditation, etc.).
For the next 3.5 weeks, I laughed, and I laughed, and then I laughed some more. I laughed with my brain retrainers laughter yoga group, I laughed with my laughter yoga family in Dr. Kataria’s Zoom group, I also laughed on my own, sometimes using my own videos for motivation when I didn’t feel like laughing – which was kind of a lot, to be honest…regardless of what my norm is when it comes to health tests, when one is off for the general norm, it’s always anxiety producing, so laughter didn’t come easy during this time, but none the less, I persisted.
Okay, ready for the results? I just got my complete blood count retested today, and not only is my white blood cell count within normal range, it is at 4.9 K/uL – which is HIGH for me, relatively speaking, and I don’t think I’ve ever tested that high this time of year! Wow, wow, wow, you guys! Though I always believed the studies I’ve read about this, seeing the effects of laughter on my own immune system right there in black and white was still pretty amazing, and I could not be more thrilled! I will definitely be increasing my laughter yoga sessions during the fall and winter going forward since this is my normal time for testing low.
What’s even more awesome is that boosting the immune system is only one of the many many benefits of laughter yoga! Laughter truly is the BEST medicine! Give your immune system a boost today with some laughter! Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha your way to a healthier immune system, better overall health and wellness, mental clarity, and gobs and gobs of healing joy and love!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a medical professional. The information presented on this site is for educational and entertainment purposes only. One should always consult with their doctor or medical professional before taking on any sort of major dietary or lifestyle changes.