Charlie Chaplin once said that" "Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain." And there is good evidence that it really is good medicine. It helps diffuse stress, lighten the moment, and gives people a focus away from their troubles.
There is some real science behind laughter as a way to ensure and regain health.
More than 30 years ago, Norman Cousins published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine discussing the potential medicinal benefits of laughter and humour.
It is are easy to prescribe and there are no real concerns with respect to dose, side effects, or allergies.
There are several great reasons to conclude that laughter is an effective method to aid healing. Virtually all laughter studies show positive results.
"The act of laughter can lead to immediate increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, respiratory depth, and oxygen consumption. These increases are then followed by a period of muscle relaxation, with a corresponding decrease in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, said Morse.
Cancer survivor Scott Burton said, “The other reactions; anger, depression, suppression, denial, took a little piece of me with them. Each made me feel just a little less human. Yet laughter made me more open to ideas, more inviting to others, and even a little stronger inside. It proved to me that, even as my body was devastated and my spirit challenged, I was still a vital human.”See his blog post/a>
Perhaps medical prescription of laughter and humour can illuminate what cancer patients already know. two studies have shown that 50% of cancer patients used humor and 21% of a group of breast cancer patients used humor or laughter therapy.
Laugher benefits have also been reported in:
- critical care
- psychiatry (see also this link)
- home care
- palliative care
- hospice care
- terminal care
- and general patient care
These studies support what is evident—that laughter and humour are therapeutic tools in healing.