Therapeutic Humor



Therapeutic-Humor is a treatment method seen often in the 1970’s that provided a therapeutic process that created positive emotions and laughter. Research illustrates that it has the potential to lower blood pressure, boost the function of the immune system, reduce hormones related to stress, trigger bodily endorphines and produce a sense of euphoria within the client. Therapeutic-Humor or Humor Therapy uses laughter and smiling to help people heal and escape from burdensome thoughts or feelings. There is a correlation between laughter, the mind and the body. It can actually change the brain chemistry and encourage the body to heal. Humor could potentially make a person feel more in control of themselves while allowing them to release negative emotions that can harm the body – such as, stress or fears associated with health or outside events.

Goals of Therapeutic-Humor

Although there is no evidence that this can cure a condition it does reduce stress and release feelings of depression. Laughing has a physical effect on the immune system and circulatory system. The goal of Therapeutic-Humor is to improve the quality of life, provide patients with mental relief, promote overall relaxation and reduce any ongoing stress. Regardless of what the condition is, this can be used as a short term therapy to improve the patient’s day and even improve relationships between the caregiver and care receiver.

When is Therapeutic-Humor Used?

Therapeutic-Humor can be used safely as a part of any treatment. It is most commonly used towards those who are suffering from a chronic disease which may have a negative effect on their mood and behavior. Therapeutic humor can help them eliminate these negative effects by ridding of the fear or helplessness. This may also be used as a preventive therapy for those who have been diagnosed with chronic diseases and for caregivers. It’s common that the person taking care of a patient may also suffer from high stress levels. Using humor can relieve both the facilitator and the client. This is approved toward all patients, it is inexpensive and available at anytime. There is little to no reason as to why a patient wouldn’t benefit from humor therapy. Being that this is an alternative therapy it is often used with conventional medical treatments.

How Therapeutic-Humor Works

When the therapist or caregiver is implementing Therapeutic-Humor the material will vary. The setting will also vary being that it can be used in any medical facility, home, treatment center or form of counseling. There are some treatment facilities that have already created rooms containing the materials which may consist of funny audio recordings, films, games or books. There are hospitals that have volunteers who strictly help by making patients laugh. Some of these therapists or caregivers will work closely with cancer treatment centers as a form of standard treatment.

It is proven that laughter can improve the spiritual, social, mental and physiological health. This is triggered by an extensive amount of external stimuli and positive emotions. Although it is only fitting as a complementary medicine the research has been well designed and any client, patient or care receiver who is treated through Therapeutic-Humor will benefit from the activity. The materials that the caregiver uses are going to vary depending on the age of the individual and what they may find humorous. If the client is elderly they may benefit from audio tapes or movies. When the client is a young child they may benefit from books, games and puzzles.

Therapeutic-Humor can contribute to the health of the immune system and create a higher tolerance for pain. When the caregiver begins to use these materials it will decrease the individuals stress response almost immediately. Laughter therapy or laughter medication is a unique way to approach health because it is a subtle treatment with immense benefits. This can be a diversion for many people that induce both positive social and physical changes. For those who are living with a condition such as cancer it may seem odd to use humor if the patient is facing a serious diagnosis – but, it is an effective way to forget about treatments, medication or physical pain. Laughter is a contagious emotion that can be felt with others or alone. Just a few minutes of the activity can boost the mood for hours.

Criticism of Therapeutic-Humor

Declaring Therapeutic-Humor a complimentary therapy is criticized by those who believe that the method is lacking in control groups and assessment tools. This is because the measurement of the treatment is non-standardized – although, the majority of Therapeutic-Humor studies evokes emotion and induces positive emotions.


Laughter is the best medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved from

What is laughter therapy?. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Help Us Improve This Article

Did you find an inaccuracy? We work hard to provide accurate and scientifically reliable information. If you have found an error of any kind, please let us know by sending an email to, please reference the article title and the issue you found.

Share Therapedia With Others