A study of Irish and British patients with leg ulcers reveals that while traditional healing methods do little to help, a good belly laugh will because it promotes healing by speeding up blood flow.
According to a five-year study, led from the University of Leeds in England, ultrasound therapy does nothing to speed up the healing process of leg ulceration — contrary to what had been expected. But laughter, along with diet, exercise and traditional methods of nursing care, will do the trick.
Investigators focused on “hard to heal” ulcers that were not cleared up after six months or longer. Patients from across Britain and Ireland were subjected to ultrasound along with the standard approach to care, known as dressings and compression therapy. No difference in recover speed and reduction in the chances of getting the ulcers back were registered.
“The ‘healing energy’ of low-dose ultrasound can make a difference to some medical conditions, but with venous leg ulcers, this is simply not the case,” said Professor Andrea Nelson from the University of Leeds’ School of Healthcare, who led the study.
“The key to care with this group of patients is to stimulate blood flow back up the legs to the heart. The best way to do that is with compression bandages and support stockings — not ‘magic wands’ — coupled with advice on diet and exercise. Believe it or not, having a really hearty chuckle can help too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body.”
Venous leg ulcers are common in people with varicose veins or mobility problems.