Laughing Medicine

Did your doctor ever give you a prescription for laughter? Probably not. Most likely, you walked into the doctor’s office feeling stressed and walked out feeling even more stressed, and possibly also depressed. Yet laughter is medicine. It is free and has no side-effects. Even a simple smile unfurrows the brow and releases inner tension. More than that, laughter can stop acute pain and recharge the immune system. It can even help cure chronic, life-threatening disease.

How can mere laughing do such things? Probably by strongly stimulating the release of endorphins (endogenous painkillers and immune system regulators). But it’s not enough to just half laugh, you have to really laugh: laugh out loud and from your belly.

“If we want a genuine smile, then first we must produce the basis for a smile to come.”
—The Dalai Lama

Laughter is a volcano whose eruption can stimulate healing.

The best documentation of this is from the experiences of Norman Cousins, well known editor and journalist who served as adjunct professor of Medical Humanities at UCLA, and who wrote Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient. Cousins had been diagnosed with a life threatening collagen disease. Informed that his chances of survival were slim, Cousins developed his own program built around high doses of micronutrients, positive attitude, faith and laughter. He went on to survive both his autoimmune disease and accompanying heart disease for many years longer than his doctors had predicted. Cousins used to watch Marx Brothers movies at home on his VCR to generate that belly laugh he used instead of drugs.

So, to begin, we recommend sampling some words of wisdom by former president of the United States, George W. Bush. That will at least get you started in the right direction.

“This case has had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot.”

“What I’m against is quotas. I’m against hard quotas, quotas that basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think, vulcanize society.”

“The thing that’s wrong with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

“In my sentences I go where no man has gone before.”

“I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together.”