Bravo!!!! Dr. Hunter Adams (alias Patch) has been acclaimed internationally for his work on Humour Therapy. Yes seriously. For indeed, the latest research in Psychoneuroimmunology (wow, what a mouthful) or mind-body medicine if you prefer, suggests that people can affect healing through their mental state. This is because laughter changes our mental state in a positive way, it can therefore be extremely beneficial to us. Dr Adams is a renowned physician who, as well as practicing conventional medicine uses laughter therapy; he dons a clown out fit and a funny hat to bring people out of severe depression. Maybe a ‘sick’ joke does the trick , ha ha ha !
In his healing centre, the “Gesundheit Institute Patch Adams treats patients with traditional, conventional (orthodox) medical practices such as those other hospitals and clinics across the country offer. However there is a remarkable difference in this special place. The patients are treated as family; the doctors, ancillary medical staff and patients eat and socialize in the same facility. Patients are “encouraged to relax and pay attention to healing the totality of their being instead of simply removing the symptoms of dis-ease.” (Cohen Alan. Companions of the heart. Alan Cohen publications and workshops, 1988) The Patchwork programme also includes fun and laughter, prescribed by the good doctor, who in turn teaches juggling and tightrope walking along with a whole host of other fun activities.
The work of Dr. Adams in this new field of therapeutic humour is of seminal importance - so what is it all about? Well at Shane Warren Coaching & Counselling Services we have been researching the subject and implementing humour therapy, as part of healthy workforce practices and as a preventive for the build up of tension and stress in our daily lives. Major scientific studies and our own experience offer conclusive evidence that THERAPEUTIC HUMOUR IS FAST BECOMING A POWERFUL TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATIVE THINKING. Humour Therapy is about making a conscious effort to realize that “regardless of the outer drama, looking on the bright and light side of life “ can help us cope with the inevitable hardships or tragic circumstances. Also the little hassles, frustration’s and upsets of the daily grind. Humour is not just about saucy jokes, hilarious situations, comical rip-roaring stories, (although these will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed) but it can also be a quiet smile. It becomes a natural habit with time to take yourself lightly and seeping back from events and situations. This brings mastery of the creative forces within us and boost our coping mechanisms. This is expressed beautifully in Og Mandino’s book “The greatest Salesman in the World”
“Today I will be master of my emotions
“If I feel depressed, I will sing
“If I feel sad I will laugh”
The principle of paradox is definitely obvious here. For the more we hold on to a situation mentally and emotionally, the more we can become overwhelmed. However when we let go, our mental space is freed up, so our creativity can flow with solutions and alternatives. Our emotional nature can then lighten up and we feel less burdened and stressed out! The paradox is, the more serious and unfunny something is, the more we need to laugh and take it easy. The use of humour can bring such a change in perspective, and this more light-hearted approach can lead to increased emotional well-being, which consequently engenders physiological wellness.
The evidence that we can make ourselves prone or immune to disease is no joking matter. Yet it is only when we seriously acknowledge the beneficial effect of laughter that humour will become an integral part of our daily routine. So go see “Patch Adams” and be inspired by his work. We will share with you the vision of many other pioneers in this field, such as Dr. Robert Holden, Dr. William Fry, Dr. David Bresler, Alison Crane and the like. In the meantime keep smiling and let the ripples of your laughter flow freely. Deep down I am sure most peoples common sense knows laughing makes them feel good, but we forget in the midst of the nitty-gritty what’s really important. Now that there is so much serious, scientific validation of how good laughter is for you we will be more encouraged to indulge more often. Please feel free to adopt our motto here at Waterworth.
“A laugh a day - keeps the bugs away!”
This article first appeared on Shane Warren Coaching & Counselling Services 'My Rambles'