Is Laughter a Real Rheumatoid Arthritis Medicine?

Tags: ,

New significance to RA, medicine, and laughter

If you’ve been on the blog more than five minutes, you know I love to laugh.  When I was a kid, I remember Dick Van Dyke singing that with Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins. When they laughed, a funny thing happened: they floated “higher than air.”  

Maybe you’ve heard it said: Laughter is good medicine. Did you know that actually comes from the Bible? I can hardly believe the second part! “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22. Gives new meaning to “funny bone.”

“Lol” found to be Rheumatoid Arthritis medicine

Last week, I was doing this pain in the neck pain threshold research. I saw this “mirthful laughter” study. I think “mirthful” means you have to “lol” / laugh out loud. Apparently laughing really hard is even better for you – just like Dick and Julie said!

Inflammatory cytokines were measured in the blood of RA’ers before and after watching Rakugo. Rakugo is a type of Japanese standup comedy in which the person sits. But is still funny.  As long as you speak Japanese.

Anyway, there was a measurable effect to the laughter on the cytokines of the RA patients tested. It is interesting that they divided the patients into two groups: those with easier to control RA and those they called the “difficult-to-control” (recalcitrant Rheumatoid Arthritis). The way in which laughter affected RA patients’ inflammatory chemistry was dependent upon their RA disease activity. “The difficult-to-control RA group is under more stress than the easily controlled RA group and mirthful laughter can be used as a means to improve mental condition.”

It was not all good though. Seems those with tough to control RA have it tough all the way around. Certain pro-inflammatory cytokines were increased with mirthful laughter. Still, I feel like my four year old watching Blue’s Clues shouting “A clue. A clue. I found a clue.” Why would this tough-type RA respond differently to laughter?  Would that help us know why recalcitrant RA responds differently to treatment?

Bonus: We spent about an hour watching Rakugo videos looking for a funny one to post here. All of the ones in English were painfully unfunny. So, we spent about 3 hours watching animal videos until we found one that made us laugh out loud.  See the elephant jumping on a trampoline video below. 

Helpful links:

Recommended reading:


Elephant Jumping on Trampoline

You know I ♥ elephants!

NOTE: Your comments are an important resource for future readers of this post in the months to come. Please find the comment link below each post.

Click here to read all the comments or add yours!

Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 10:07 am and is filed under Living with RA / Managing RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


The Post

Comments (19)

What do you think?

Would You Like Free Email Updates?
Stay in touch with RA Warrior.
We respect your privacy. Your email address will never be shared.