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Just 15 minutes of laughter increased the level of pain tolerance by 10 percent.
The kind of laughter that works is a belly aching laugh that usually only happens when you are with others.
Previous studies have focussed more on why humans laugh, as opposed to how they do it.
The laughter epidemic began on January 30, 1962, at a mission-run boarding school for girls in Kashasha. The laughter started with three girls and spread haphazardly throughout the school, affecting 95 of the 159 pupils, aged 12–18. Symptoms lasted from a few hours to 16 days in those affected. The teaching staff were not affected but reported that students were unable to concentrate on their lessons. The school was forced to close down on March 18, 1962. After the school was closed and the students were sent home, the epidemic spread to Nshamba, a village that was home to several of the girls. In April and May, 217 people had laughing attacks in the village, most of them being school children and young adults.
The Kashasha school was reopened on May 21, only to be closed again at the end of June. In June, the laughing epidemic spread to Ramashenye girls’ middle school, near Bukoba, affecting 48 girls.
Another outbreak occurred in Kanyangereka and two nearby boys schools were closed. The Tanganyika laughter epidemic is sometimes understood as implying that thousands of people were continuously laughing for months. However this may not have been the case. Other reports tell that the epidemic consisted of occasional attacks of laughter among groups of people and the laughter was incapacitating when it struck. Scientists have confirmed that laughter can be contagious. The school from which the epidemic sprang was sued; the children and parents transmitted it to the surrounding area.
Other schools, Kashasha itself, and another village, comprising thousands of people, were all affected to some degree. Six to eighteen months after it started, the phenomenon died off. The following symptoms were reported on an equally massive scale as the reports of the laughter itself: pain, fainting, respiratory problems, rashes, attacks of crying, random screaming. In total 14 schools were shut down and 1000 people were affected.