You’ve heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, humor-based therapy relies on that concept to help heal internal mental and emotional wounds.
“Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response. It’s like internal jogging, providing a good massage to all internal organs while also toning abdominal muscles,” says Dr. Gulshan Sethi, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the Tucson Medical Center and faculty at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
According to WebMD, “Humor therapy (sometimes called therapeutic humor) uses the power of smiles and laughter to aid healing.” Humor-based therapy is used to treat almost any ailment. It is particularly useful in treating chronic illnesses and diseases that are exacerbated by stress, such as hypertension and generalized anxiety disorder. It makes sense that therapeutic humor could be used for other issues, such as drug and alcohol addiction.
In a wonderful article found on the Laughter Online University website, the reasoning behind using humor-based therapy in addiction treatment is explained. “Part of recovery involves the slow process of ‘rewiring’ the reward circuitry of the brain, and this is why laughter can be of great help. It has been shown to boost endorphin production and helps those suffering from addiction to feel good without resorting to drugs.”
Beth Bongar, a Certified Laughter Professional since 2005, says, ““Most addicts desperately need to learn not only how to tolerate distressing feelings, thoughts and situations, but how to soothe themselves when they’re distressed. The experience of a therapeutic approach to laughter, alone or in a group, can teach us how to distract or delay, to not sweat the small stuff, to lighten up, to release, to connect, to choose laughter instead of drama, to engage in something pleasurable, to step back, observe, and ‘surf’ the discomfort.”
If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction or depression, please reach out and speak with someone who can help. There are a vast amount of resources available, no matter what your financial situation is. Recovery is possible!
6 Reasons Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine. (2016, September 13). Retrieved February, 2017.
How Laughter Helps With Substance Abuse, Creates Natural High. (2016, February 03). Retrieved February, 2017.
Humor Therapy – Topic Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved February, 2017.