Is Laughter the Best Medicine? Term Paper by Nicky

A review of the research on the health benefits of laughter.
# 150838 | 1,542 words | 4 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Apr 26, 2012 in Medical and Health (Medical Studies) , Aging (Gerontology)

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The paper explores the research that points to the positive benefits of laughing and that shows that humor causes psychological and physiological changes in the body. The paper also looks at the argument of a researcher who is skeptical about these results and contends that these studies do not conclusively show that laughter is good for health. The writer of this paper discusses how he/she has personally seen the benefits of humor in many aspects of his/her life and asserts that there can certainly be no harm in using laughter as a "medicine".

From the Paper:

"Berk (2001), at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, synthesized three decades of research that has been conducted on 15 psychophysiological advantages of humor and laughter, especially with the elderly. Based on the studies he reviewed, Berk found eight positive psychological benefits from laughter: Humor reduces anxiety, stress, depression, and loneliness, as well as improves self-esteem, restores hope and energy and provides a sense of empowerment and control. Physically, the description of laughter is translated into seven advantages involving the central nervous, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems.
"Berk (2001) also reports research findings that support mental functioning. It raises catecholamine levels in the body that enhance overall mental functioning. The post-laugh euphoric experience can be related to adequate functioning of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Despite the fact that these effects do not reverse the aging process, older adults who laugh on a regular basis will experience better interpersonal responsiveness, be more alert and have improved memory. In addition, reports Berk, laughter relaxes muscles and can be used as a means of exercise."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Berk, R. A. (2001) The active ingredients in humor. Educational Gerontology. 27, 323-339.
  • Burchowski, M., Majchrazak, K., Blomquist, K. Chen, K., Byrne, D., and Bachorowski, J. (2007). Energy expenditure of genuine laughter. 31(1), 131-137
  • Martin, R. (2002). Is laughter the best medicine? Current Directions in Psychological Science. 11(6), 218-220
  • Miller M & Fry W.F. (2009) The effect of mirthful laughter on the human cardiovascular system. Med Hypotheses. 73(5), 636-639.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Is Laughter the Best Medicine? (2012, April 26) Retrieved December 10, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Is Laughter the Best Medicine?" 26 April 2012. Web. 10 December. 2023. <>