Laughter Therapy

Essay by stargirl143High School, 11th gradeB, April 2004

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Laughter Therapy

Laughter therapy is a form of therapy that encourages people to use the natural, physiological process of laugher to release painful emotions like anger, fear, helplessness, depression and stress. Humour helps give us perspective to our problems and makes us have a positive and hopeful attitude, that is why it is such a great relaxation method. The first documented case of "humour positively affecting disease" was in 1964 when Norman Cousins, published "Anatomy of an Illness". Medical professionals were shown that humour reversed Cousins' ankylosing spondylitis, a painful disease causing the disintegration of the spinal connective tissue. With a one in five hundred chance of recovery, Norman decided to infuse himself with humour treatments. With Norman's self-designed humour treatments, he found that 15 minutes of hardy laughter could produce two hours of pain free sleep. Blood samples also showed that his inflammation level was lowered after the humour treatments.

Eventually Norman Cousins was able to completely reverse the illness. He later documented his story in a book he called "Anatomy Of an Illness."

Today, the interest in humourous effects has grown so much that the medical field has named it psychoneuroimmunology, the study of how psychological factors, the brain and the immune system interact to influence health.

The techniques used for laughter or humour therapy are all different. First and most common is speakers and speeches. They teach you how to laugh at yourself and your daily problems and to clear you mind. Enda Junkins is a very well known "laughter psychotheripast" who has given speeches and written many books about laughter therapy. Books are another technique. Books give you techniques for your future on how to deal with your problems through laughter. Lastly, there are many videos to watch and to help you feel...