Ron Swanson was a fan favorite. But this actor didn't know the half of how he was helping people.

Is laughter really the best medicine?

For seven seasons, Nick Offerman made millions of people laugh with his now iconic "Parks and Recreation" character Ron Swanson.

Fans of all stripes found an unexpected hero and a reliable chuckle in the waterfall of testosterone that was Swanson.


GIF from "Parks and Recreation" via Time magazine.

Since the series ended, Offerman has received an outpouring of appreciation. But it's messages like the ones he describes below that really remind him why he loves making people laugh.

GIF set by Time magazine. Watch the interview.

So is laughter really the best medicine?

Time magazine's Markham Heid interviewed Dr. Lee Burk who studies the health impacts of laughter. He notes the role of stress in all sorts of health problems and points out that "laughter appears to cause all the reciprocal, or opposite, effects of stress."

GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

Dr. Burk says laughter can enhance your blood flow, strengthen your immune system, and even improve the communication between your brain cells. The Mayo Clinic adds that a hearty giggle can ease pain, enhance mood, and even strengthen our connections to other people, which makes some researchers wonder whether laughter really is the best medicine.

Heid also spoke with Dr. Robert Provine, a neuroscientist who says, "One of the challenges of studying laughter is that there are so many things that trigger it" — things like being around people we're more likely to laugh with. "That doesn't mean the benefits aren't real," says Provine, "but it may not be accurate to credit laughter alone with all these superpowers."

OK, so we may still have a lot to learn about the science of laughter, but even Dr. Provine thinks we should keep it up:

"When we laugh, we're in a happy place. That's always a good thing."

Cheers to that, doc.

With that, here's one last tip: Nick Offerman may be this awesome and caring dude who doles out a "medicine" of sorts with comedy, but be careful taking health advice from Ron Swanson.

GIF from "Parks and Recreation" via Time magazine.

More
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular