The pharmacology of humor

Written by Györfi András

A good word put in for someone during a medical consultation or hospital admission can significantly alleviate the stress generated by the contact with the healthcare institutions. The superlative of good word in these situations could be represented by a humorous phrase of the physician during the consultation or treatment, which could realize a cognitive shift in the patient’s perception of it’s own disease. This change of perspective will diminish the anxiety, depression and fear generated by the symptoms of the illness and will help to rebuild optimism and a good doctorpatient relationship, based on hope and collaboration. The essay analizes the elements which can generate humor – the recipe of humor -, the indications, contraindications and dosage of this genuine alternative medication. Finally, healthy laughter’s psychological and physiological benefits are presented, which are mediated by changes in circulation, respiration, muscle’s tonus and endorphin release. Due to this large variety of effects, humor can surely regarded as a panacea.


Keywords: humor, cognitive shift, doctor-patient relation, psycho-physiological changes

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