The essence of humour. (1/5 : Physical)


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This is the first part of five about the essence of humor and what kind of effects it has on the human body and/or mind.

Humour comes with certain consequences. These can be distinguished by:



  • physical behaviours
  • social behaviours
  • psychological behaviours
  • emotional behaviours
  • cognitive behaviours.

Physical Behaviours

Physical Humour applies physical laughter. A well know saying is that laughing is healthy. This is true because laughing involves the whole body: muscles, respiration, cardiovascular system, hormonal system and the immune system (Truyen & Portael, 1996). Muscles are being put to use during a fit of laughter. This is evident and can impact on the jaw leading to sore jaw muscles and also the bladder muscle. Respiration speeds up and gets deeper, especially exhalation. This induces better lung ventilation and a higher oxygen blood level. Due to the deeper respiration the diaphragm pushes down on the bowels. These in turn are massaged and gives better peristalsis.

When laughing the heart frequency increases as does the blood pressure, which can even temporarily double! Eventually the blood pressure will drop to below the starting pressure. This increased blood pressure stimulates the brain, especially the hypothalamus, affecting hormonal levels and releasing endorphins, which improves over-all well-being. This can last up to two hours after the induced burst of laughter (Truyen & Porteal, 1996). It is pain reducing, increases libido and has the same effect as anti-depressive medications. During laughter, immunoglobulin-A level rises improving immunity to diseases (Lefcourt, 1990).

You can conclude that laughing gives the body a good work-out and puts the body in to a relative state of comfort. And if you try this on your patients you will notice that patients in this state of comfort they will complain less about there physical pains and discomfort. Because they are in a relative state of comfort they need less pain medication and this also is better for the patient.


When was the last time that your patients had a good laughter and what was the situation in which it occurred?



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