William H. Frey II, Ph.D., a biochemist and director of the Psychiatry Research Laboratories at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre, Professor and Director Alzheimer's Research Center Regions Hospital Foundation, Minnesota, also made his study participants cry by showing sad movies. (Brian’s Song
was a biggie.) His theory was that we feel better after crying because it removes chemicals that build up during stress. “We don’t know what those chemicals are, but we do know that tears contain ACTH, which is known to be increased in stress. We don’t know if they are increased in tears,” reports Dr. Frey.
Frey continues, “It’s important that we evolved this ability. If you can alleviate stress, you can prevent stress damage to the heart and brain, and improve long-term survival. We shouldn’t be conditioning young children not to cry; we should be happy that they have the ability.”