The Healing Effects Of Laughter And The Science Behind It – Endorphins

girl with red raincoat and umbrella laughing

by J. Lee


The healing effects of laughter

have been near and dear to my heart for a long time now. In my college psychology class I wrote about it. In my speech class I spoke about it. I am happy to say I got a letter grade of ‘A’ in both classes.

Years later after my graduation a wonderful movie came out about laughter called ‘Patch Adams‘. The lead role was played by comedian Robin Williams. It was about a doctor who had difficulty in medical school, because he was seen as being too happy.

He was chastised by a professor who greatly disliked him. He was brought before other professors and his peers in a hearing where he had to defend himself.  He was almost kicked out of school for his belief about humor and healing. After graduation he integrated laughter and humor in his medical practice that he named Gesundheit..

Hunter Patch Adams movie quote“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”

CNN: The real Dr. Patch Adams says Gesundheit! – Dr. Adams is the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, a medical center in West Virginia. He’s also author of the book “Gesundheit!” In German that means “good health.” Anchor Bill Hemmer recently interviewed Patch Adams on CNN Morning News.

Healing comes in many forms. There are many great benefits directly attributed to laughter especially since it releases endorphins. Laughter is a great way to have fun while aiding with health wellness. It has also been very effective in reducing or removing depression.

Draxe.com outlines the characteristics and functions of endorphins:

What Are EndorphinsEndorphins are the popular term for chemical substances known as “opiate peptides.” Which neurochemicals qualify as “endorphins,” and what do endorphins do exactly?

Endorphins include enkephalins and dynorphins, substances associated with feelings of pleasure, sexuality/sensually, euphoria and pain relief. Essentially, endorphins promote a sort of “bliss,” providing a sense of well-being. Low levels of endorphins are associated with the opposite effects: physical and emotional pain (including chronic pain linked to disorders like fibromyalgia), addiction and higher incidence of risk-taking behaviors.

graphic text outlining the function of endorphins and how they affect pain and pleasure receptors in the brain.

All too often medical providers trained in traditional medicine are quick to write out a script for medication when a holistic approach is readily available. Costs associated with a natural approach is easy on the wallet. Laughter can be addicting, but not like prescription drugs that often come with harmful side effects.

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