The Healing Power of Laughter

“Having a sense of humor and being able to spontaneously laugh and play are important aspects of any holistic wellness program,” says Paula Curtiss, Director for Healing hands School of Holistic Health. “Though medical doctors have used humor to distract patients from pain since the 13th century, 20th century research has revealed mounting evidence to support the theory that laughter does indeed have therapeutic value”, she added. 

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), laughter not only provides mental and physical benefits, it also strengthens close relationships which positively affect our sense of belonging and help speed healing.  Humor and playful communication evoke positive feelings and foster emotional connections that act as a strong buffers against disappointments, confrontations and the stressors of daily life.

 Laughter is so innate to the human spirit that infants begin smiling within their first few weeks of life and are heard laughing out loud just months after birth.  Some of the benefits of laughter include:

 Triggering the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) thereby relieving pain

  • Dissolving distressing emotions since one cannot be anxious, angry or sad when laughing
  • Shifting your perspective, allowing you to see situations in a less threatening way
  • Allowing us to take ourselves less seriously, reducing self-criticism and negative self-talk
  • Producing a general sense of well-being
  • Improving mental alertness and enhancing memory
  • Increasing physical energy and creativity
  • Decreasing stress-related hormones (ie: Cortisol)
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Easing digestion and relieving stomach aches
  • Relaxing muscle tension throughout the body
  • Increasing oxygen intake
  • Exercising the heart and lungs
  • Improving sleep
  • Balancing blood pressure
  • Helping us feel more empowered 

Laughing is an important holistic health practice that can help you to feel better about yourself and the world around you.  Laughing for just a few minutes each day can help you to relax and recharge, reducing stress and relieving pain while lifting our spirits, attitudes and mental capacities.  Best of all, laughter is our birthright, completely free and available to anyone of us at any time and in most any place or situation we may find ourselves.  Laughter is healing to the mind, body and soul.

Serving residents through three regional campuses, HH is considered a trail-blazer for Holistic Health Education in Southern California.  To find out more about our 50+ massage and holistic health classes, visit us at  or call us at 800.355.6463  Our Fall Schedule is now available for registration!

Citations: 1) The University of Maryland, Laughter’s Effect on Cardiac Health, presented by the American College of Cardiology.  2) The New England Journal of Medicine, report on Norman Cousins and his findings as published in the book, Anatomy of an Illness.