In 1979 Norman Cousins published his memoir, Anatomy of an Illness: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration (Cousins, 1979). In this bestselling book, he recounted in great detail his experience with and battles against the painful, progressively disabling inflammatory condition of ankylosing spondylitis. In spite of all available treatments at the time, the disease did not relent until he (under medical supervision) took massive doses of Vitamin C and began an intensive course of laughter therapy. What he reported astonished the world: “ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep” (Cousins, 1979, p. 39). This anecdotal report of the effect of laughter in one (influential) person served as an impetus to decades of serious research on humor, mirth, and laughter.
Topics: Anatomy of an Illness: Reflections on Healing and, Association of the University Programs in Health A, health administration, psychological effects, public health education, Public health management, Sharon B. Buchbinder, Sharon Buchbinder Blog, Situational Humor Response Questionnaire (SHRQ)