When comedian Robert Schimmel was told he had Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he didn’t miss a beat. “Just my luck,” he said to his surgeon. “I got the one not named after the guy.”
Schimmel’s story is all about choices. He could have chosen to dive off the emotional deep end and allow cancer to overshadow his life — and the lives of those around him. Instead, one of the biggest names in comedy chose to incorporate humour into his healing as much as possible — a decision he believes dramatically influenced his body’s ability to fight, and win, his battle with cancer.
The healing power of laughter is well documented, whether a patient suffers from cancer, multiple sclerosis or less-dire challenges. Research also suggests that a sound sense of humour may prevent health problems from occurring in the first place.
Dr. Smith promotes laughter as an all-natural pain reliever. Countless studies show that a good case of the giggles bolsters pain tolerance by escalating the release of endorphins: the body’s “feel good” hormones. And, laughter simultaneously suppresses production of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin.
Best of all, its only side effect is a sense of well-being and contentment. And that’s important to Dr. Smith who believes in addressing the underlying causes of disease and illness — not merely making symptoms with potentially deadly drugs.