The Science of Laughter

Why is laughter so important for our health?


A huge amount of research has been done looking into the health benefits of laughter. Some of its greatest pioneers include:


Norman Cousins – author of “Anatomy of An Illness (As Perceived by the Patient)” – diagnosed with a painful, degenerative, incurable condition he found that 10 minutes of “mirthful” laughter gave him 2 hours of pain free sleep – see Wikipedia profile and read more


Dr William Fry – Psychologist, Stanford University – the “Father of Gelotology” (the science of laughter) – read more about this research


Dr Lee Berk –  Psycho Neuro Immunlogist, Loma Linda University, California – 23 years of laughter studies – read more about his research


Dr Hunter “Patch” Adams – founder of the “Gesundheit! Institute” and the Therapeutic Clowning Movement in hospitals and brought to world wide attention by actor Robin Williams in the film ‘Patch Adams’- read more 


And of course our very own Jo Bluett as seen in the Independent on Sunday:

Laughter Inc: The Cheering Growth of the Chuckle Industry” – The Independent 16/06/13

Jo also appeared in Leukaemia Care’s Journey Magazine – click here (Page 11).

and on the  STV (Scottish Television) website – click here.


Research Links & Articles


“Now there’s proof – laughter really is the best medicine! – Telegraph 04/08/13

“Study reveals laughter really is the best medicine” – BBC News, Science & Environment 14/09/11

“Stop jogging, get giggling: laughter is the best medicine” – The Daily Telegraph 27/04/09

“Laughter can keep the weight off” – BBC News 18/01/2007

“Laughing helps healing process – ‘better than latest technology for leg ulcers’ ” – BBC News, Health 10/03/11

“Laugh and the world can’t help laughing with you, study says” – The Independent 13/12/06

“How can you laugh when you don’t feel like laughing? – Dr Madan Kataria 31/10/06

“I don’t feel like laughing but I will try” – Dr Madan Kataria Youtube link

“Laughter really is the best medicine” – The Guardian 03/04/06

“Laughter really could be the best form of medicine” – Telegraph 17/04/09

“Laughter really is the best medicine as doctors find it can be as healthy as exercise” – Telegraph 26/04/10

“Laughter eases hospital pain” – BBC News 21/02/02 

“Tim Dowling’s laughter plan: New research shows laughter can have a similar effect to working out.” The Guardian 27/04/10

“Laughter therapy: Laughter not only provides a full-scale workout for your muscles, it unleashes a rush of stress-busting endorphins. What’s more, your body can’t distinguish between real and fake laughter – any giggle will do” – The Observer 06/07/08

“The best medicine: The power of laughter” – Independent 14/01/12 

“Laughter: The Best Medicine” – Psychology Today 05/04/05

“Even fake laughter is good medicine” – The Age Magazine and also appeared in Washington Post 01/04/03 

“Laughter ‘boosts blood-vessel health” – Nature Science Journal 07/03/05 

“Laughter ‘boosts blood vessels” – BBC News 07/03/05

“Group exercise ‘boosts happiness’ ” – BBC News 15/09/09

“Laughing Your Way to Organizational Health – David Granirer (date unknown)

“The Stress Management and Health Benefits of Laughter – Health Benefits of Laughter:  Stress Relief, Immunity and More” by Elizabeth Scott, M.S., – Updated 18/06/12 (Previously Posted as “The Laughing Cure” 07/10/09)