by Rajiv Samant MD, FRCPC, “Health Humor Enthusiast” and Radiation Oncologist, The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre (Ontario, Canada)
Laughter is the best medicine is a commonly quoted phrase but have you ever wondered why? People have known for centuries about the incredible power of humour and laughter to heal. For example, Lord Byron, the English poet born in the 18th century, stated, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” While Madeleine L’Engle, the 20th century American author, said, “A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.” This of course was long before Gelotology, the scientific study of laughter and its effects on the body, became a formally recognized specialty of psychology research.