Lifewatch: Humor heals

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Studies shows humor heals and at least two children's hospitals use it as part of their regular treatment.

Early research shows actual physiological changes when you laugh, that could strengthen your immune system and help you heal more quickly.

Pediatrician Michael Pitt with the Children's Memorial Hospital, uses magic tricks and a doctor's rigorous training to turn an exam into a play date.

"I watch their faces change, and the rest of the exam becomes easier," said Pitt.  "By spending that extra minute relaxing the patient, they are more of a participant in the exam."

Similarly at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital, Madame Bustier and Grandma are professional clowns that describe themselves as doctors of delight.

"When you're laughing, when you're engaged, even if you're in pain, you don't feel it at the moment you go somewhere else," said Pam Chermansky with the Big Apple Circus.

Laughing is sometimes compared to a mild workout, and that's one of the theories on why laugher heals.  Like exercise, it can boost your heart rate, stretch your muscles, and send more oxygen through your body.