Can Tickling Dramatically Improve Your Health?

Is Nature wasteful or thrifty? Evolution uses the same structures by Adaptation for human survival over the millennia. You read that fish gills evolved into the human face and neck, while dinosaurs with tiny feathers evolved into present day birds.

Is laughter just a waste of time? How about tickling?

Fact: six (6) year-olds laugh on an average of 300 times daily

Fact: fourteen (14) year olds laugh an average of 160 times daily.

Fact: adults – twenty-five (25) year olds to senior citizens - laugh on an average of
only 17 times daily.

So What

Maybe human adults have less to smile and laugh about with 10% unemployment,
the highest rate of foreclosures and bankruptcies since the 1930s? Nyet, nada, negative: smiling and laughing is part of our human nature and instinctual.

Humans, chimps and other mammals are hardwired (preloaded) for smiling and laughter. It is part of our grooming process that creates emotional communication between men and women, mothers and offspring, and empathy for others.

How come kids smile and laugh up to seventeen (17) times more than adults?
Answer: conditioning. We are programmed by our culture, media and career experience to believe those who smile and laugh are lazy, inattentive and indifferent.

We suppress smiling and laughter until it becomes inhibited and weak because it is
not often triggered. The neural network containing experiences that made us giggle, chuckle and guffaw in the past is just not firing their synapses as we age.

Disuse (abstinence) extinguishes neural networks, while rewards (other people joining in) induce a greater number of daily smiles and bouts of laughter.

But So What

Two things for Inquiring Minds: one: when we were kids and went to the beach, we always found a seashell by the seashore. We put it against our ear, right? Sure we did, and were told the shell scientifically retained the sounds of the ocean, right? We never questioned that explanation then or since.

Fact: the sound is the noise of blood surging through the veins in our ears when we
clamp the shell to it. Saying so does not make it so, right? Another myth destroyed.

Fact: Warren Buffett said: “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut!” He was talking about lawyers having a vested interest (conflict of interest) in a Merger or Acquisition culminating successfully because they get a percentage instead of just an hourly fee.

Is the lawyer (or barber) going to say No! Don’t do the deal or get the haircut? Will your counselor warn you this deal is a clone of the Time-Warner merging disaster with AOL? Only Saints and Angels don’t look after Number One first, right?

Twelve (12) Benefits of Smiling & Laughter

Caution: you must read this list at least twice (2x) to get the guts of it.

1. Blood Circulation produces up to 12% more oxygen and glucose (energy) for body and mind when you smile or laugh often.
2. Speed of brain functions: up to 15% higher for optimal cognition.
3. Stress: reduced from mind and body (up to 18% by MRI reading).
4. Abdominal muscles and digestion strengthened by laughing.
5. Left and right brain: synchronized and integrated to work together.
6. Blood pressure lowered up to 10% based on how many smiles & duration of our daily laughing.
7. Diaphragmatic (deeper) breathing for up to six hours afterward.
8. Immune System produces a supply of Dopamine -(neurotransmitter) the pleasure hormone.
9. Attentiveness, heartbeat regularity and pulse rate are improved.
10. Long-term memory and learning skills enhanced up to 2x (double).
11. University of Maryland research: protection from stroke and heart
12. Pain (physical and mental) is reduced up to 50% and your healing rate increases by a surge of Endorphins.

Read the dozen rewards of smiling and laughter one more once. Now smile because
you have added to your health and longevity core knowledge.

You Cannot Tickle Yourself

Recent research at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and published in Nature
Neuroscience. Google: 4.15.09, Professor H. Olausson. Touching the skin can relieve
pain. Your skin being stoked has an express line directly to the brain.

Pain signals cannot block skin impulses of someone stroking our skin. Tickling overcomes pain – it deadens the pain stimuli. Inquiring minds should know that
being slowly tickled (stroked) activates specialized nerve fibers in our skin.

Pleasurable feelings are produced by our brain by these nerve fibers called CT nerves (C-Tactile). The longer and greater frequency of stroking (tickling) – the
greater the pleasure. But you cannot self-tickle, the sensation (emotion) must be
created by another.

Cerebellum Monitors Our Bodily Movements

Our little brain (cerebellum) prevents us from tickling ourselves. Why?
It can distinguish between Expected and Unexpected sensations. Tickling
is 90% triggered by unexpected sensation. Your brain knows (somatosensory
cortex) who is doing the tickling – you or a stranger?

An example of an expected bodily sensation is the feeling (pressure) of your fingertips while typing on the computer keyboard. Unexpected is a stranger
tickling your neck with a feather.


Tickling causes involuntary twitching movements or laughter. The brain releases
endorphins (brain morphine) that cause euphoria and pleasure. It is called an
Opioid compound (opium-like) produced by your Pituitary gland and
hypothalamus. The affect, according to Alan Hirsch, M.D. lasts up to 12 hours.


You remember the 12 benefits of smiling and laughing, right? How can you create
them on demand and improve your health and longevity?

a) Inner Child: if you see yourself making ridiculous faces in a
mirror, your instinctive reaction is to smile and even laugh.
b) We teach corporate executive and law students to fake (make-
believe) smiling. Google: orbicularis oculi (face muscles)
risorius muscles and zygomatic major. These three muscles
cause your eyes to squint and face to raise sides into a smile.
c) Mentally visualize (with strong emotion) a scene that you saw
on TV that tickled your funny-bone. Set a mood of relaxing
with a positive attitude of humor. Google: Funniest Videos.
d) Get your significant other to tickle your feet (bottoms).
Remember – two-minutes of tickling triggers up to 12 hours
of endorphins and dopamine – the pleasure hormone.

Would reading and remembering three (3) books, articles and reports, while your
peers can hardly finish one, be a powerful competitive advantage – in your career?
Contact us for a free detailed speed reading report. Now is the time.

See ya,
copyright © 2010 H. Bernard Wechsler

Author's Bio: 

Author of Speed Reading For Professionals, published by Barron's.
Business partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating
2 million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: