Talk wit the Doc: Impact of humor and laughter on healing and health


Humor and laughter have many medical and clinical benefits, by promoting beneficial physiological changes and an overall sense of well-being. Laughter and humor have also been shown to have long-term effects that strengthen the effectiveness of our body’s immune system. In healthcare, humor therapy can help relieve stress associated with disease and illness. It also serves to divert our attention from negative thoughts, and has been shown to be an effective therapeutic tool for medical disorders such as depression. It can certainly help patients dealing with the stress of an acute or chronic medical illness. Humor has also been shown to have a positive impact on health care providers who may be coping with the stress and personal demands of being a medical professional, including nurses, doctors and various others.

Research has also shown the laughter can help a person live longer. This recent research has shown that elderly people who enjoy laughter frequently and view the world in an optimistic way are likely to live longer than those who are more pessimistic and negative.

And the great thing about this is that the simple act of laughing truly leads us to be more positive in our outlook on life. In fact, it truly is not possible to be pessimistic at the same time that we laugh.

As noted above, laughter actually boosts the immune system, increasing the number of antibody-producing T cells in our body. These T cells help us to fight infection so we’re less likely to come down with illnesses such as the common cold. Laughter also lowers the levels of at least four hormones that are associated with stress. So, after a good giggle, you should feel far less tense and anxious and a lot more positive.

Humor and a good laugh have also been found to reduce pain in our body. Not only does a laugh distract us from our aches and pains, but it also releases feel good endorphins into our body that are more powerful than many of the pain relievers in use today. This idea of healing through laughter is becoming more well understood as many people become aware of our bodies positive reaction to our laughter. A good personal laugh has been shown to increase our pain tolerance by at least 10 percent as a result of our internal body endorphins being released. These natural endorphins in our body will nearly always lead us to natural pleasant feelings of calm, as they provide us with temporary pain relief.

Research has also clearly demonstrated that laughter has long been known to help people who are dealing with depression. Laughing reduces tension and stress, and will lower feelings of anxiety that will contribute to feelings of depression. Laughter clearly has been shown to reduce depression in patients by providing us with feelings of well-being and having a more positive outlook.

The bottom line is that humor and laughter have a well proven positive impact on our personal health and well being. Therefore, laughter truly is good medicine. Check out my joke book on Amazon, with more the 300 clean fun simple jokes, entitled “Laughter is Good Medicine.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books.Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.


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