The healing power of laughter
We all know laughter makes you feel happy, but can it actually help soothe aching, chronic pains, too?
Research, presented by a group of Swiss researchers at The European Pain Federation Congress, finds that laughter may ease the pain for chronic sufferers. Researchers believe that laughing can actually help a person tolerate their chronic pain better, and also improve daily living.
In the study, researchers had people view a comedy movie while keeping their hands in ice cold water. They found that those who were laughing had a higher tolerance for the cold. They also found that the acceptance for pain continued even 20 minutes after laughter subsided. Those that were not laughing could not bear the pain and did not see the same effects.
Researchers believe that this could be because humor triggers endorphins, which also relaxes the muscles. Lead researcher, Thomas Benz, believes that laughing should be included as part of a pain rehabilitation programs.
“As a result, humor helps to reflect pain, thus helping both the patients as well as their carers to deal better with stress,” said researcher Willibald Ruch, in a statement. “Humor can be used specifically as a cognitive technique, for example in terms of a distraction to control the pain and increase pain tolerance.”
He added though that phony smiles and forced laughing will not help the tolerance of pain, as it must be real laughter and happiness.
About the Author
Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.