Is there therapy in laughter?

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Question from Megan's Mom: You know the old saying about laughter being the best medicine? Any thoughts about how mental attitude affects the physical state, or even the potential for feeling better? Should I be watching more sitcoms?
Answers - David Spiegel Of course that assumes you find sitcoms funny! I actually think that laughter can be therapeutic in part because it is a good feeling, but also because the essence of the joke is coming to a new understanding of a situation heading in a different direction. A group of women in my support group were talking about preparing for their remains to be buried so their families wouldn't have to do it. One called to get information about a beautiful place overlooking the ocean, and when she was told the price she said she was representing a group. The facility replied that they don't give group discounts. The whole group had a good laugh about it and sometimes laughter can make the unbearable bearable. Is laughing going to change the course of the disease? There is no evidence that that happens but if it makes you feel happy, go for it.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Feelings about Breast Cancer featured David Spiegel, Ph.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the emotional effects of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2000.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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