Health Centers Use Laughter Therapy to Support Treatment - "The Gift of Laughter" App Delivers the Laughs Just as April Wraps Up National Humor Month

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While there is little in the world that is as serious as cancer, recent research shows that laughter has natural healing properties that could be valuable in providing comfort to those with chronic illnesses. With National Humor Month coming to a close, VisionsMedia's "Gift of Laughter" app offers a way to deliver laughter through immediate technology.

A screen shot from the iPad version

The Gift of Laughter on the iPad

After evaluating participants before and after a humorous event (i.e., a comedy video), studies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped to reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.

A growing body of research supports the theory that laughter may have therapeutic value. According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (http://www.cancercenter.com/complementary-alternative-medicine/laughter-therapy.cfm), Laughter Therapy through laughter clubs within their own internal organization, can play an important role in helping patients cope with the challenges of cancer treatment.

VisonsMedia's "The Gift of Laughter" iPhone and iPad app helps in the delivery of that laughter.

Recently a research team lead by evolutionary anthropologists from Oxford University in the UK concluded that endorphins released by a big belly laugh in a social setting can make pain more bearable.

For years, the use of humor has been used in medicine. Surgeons used humor to distract patients from pain as early as the 13th century. Later, in the 20th century, came the scientific study of the effect of humor on physical wellness. Many credit this to Norman Cousins. After years of prolonged pain from a serious illness, Cousins claims to have cured himself with a self-invented regimen of laughter and vitamins. In his 1979 book Anatomy of an Illness, Cousins describes how watching comedic movies helped him recover.

Over the years, researchers have conducted studies to explore the impact of laughter on health. After evaluating participants before and after a humorous event (i.e., a comedy video), studies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped to reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.

One very useful method of achieving authentic laughter is to provide a simple and accessible method of literally "taping" into laughter through technology. A new iPhone app that makes you laugh – not by way of a joke or funny illustration, but by witnessing belly laughs via video, featuring 50 ordinary folks who auditioned for the laughing matter. The goal? A gift of contagious laughter. “The Gift of Laughter” iPhone/iPad app is available now on the Apple iTunes App Store for 99¢. It provides the quickest path to real laughter that is available through the magic of the iPhone and iPad.

Today more than ever before, people are turning to humor for therapy and healing. Medical journals have acknowledged that laughter therapy can help improve quality of life for patients with chronic illnesses. Many hospitals now offer laughter therapy programs as a complementary treatment to illness.

For people living with cancer, it may seem strange to find humor when facing such serious issues. Yet, laughter can be helpful in ways you might not have realized or imagined.

Laughter can help you feel better about yourself and the world around you. Laughter can be a natural diversion. When you laugh, no other thought comes to mind. Laughing can also induce physical changes in the body. After laughing for only a few minutes, you may feel better for hours.

When used in addition to conventional cancer treatments, laughter therapy may help in the overall healing process.

According to some studies, laughter therapy may provide physical benefits, such as helping to:

    Boost the immune system and circulatory system
    Enhance oxygen intake
    Stimulate the heart and lungs
    Relax muscles throughout the body
    Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)
    Ease digestion/soothes stomach aches
    Relieve pain
    Balance blood pressure
    Improve mental functions (i.e., alertness, memory, creativity)

Laughter therapy may also help to:

    Improve overall attitude
    Reduce stress/tension
    Promote relaxation
    Improve sleep
    Enhance quality of life
    Strengthen social bonds and relationships
    Produce a general sense of well-being

Through a simple laughter deliver device like "The Gift of Laughter" on an iPad or iPhone, an individual can get the rapid release that laughter provides over and over again.

What a wonderful way to ring out the month of April as National Humor Month.

Media Contact
Fred Burger can be reached at (917) 647-8152 or fburger(at)visionsmedia(dot)com
The web site for “The Gift of Laughter” can be found at: http://www.the-gift-of-laughter.com
“The Gift of Laughter” app can be downloaded at: (or search the app store for “laughter”)
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-gift-of-laughter/id428139499?mt=8#

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Frederick P. Burger
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