Living Back to Simply Health, 5.10.2004
Humour - The Best Medicine?
One of the world's best-selling magazines always claims that «humour is the best medicine».
Humour - The Best Medicine? An absurd idea, simply laughable, a joke. Humour will not remove your hernia, unbreak your leg, delete your bunions or solve your short-sightedness. You would not expect a belly laugh to repair your washing-machine, so why should a joke replace major (or even minor) surgery? Of course, not all our health problems are surgical. There are such things as over-eating, under-exercising and generally hanging around. Jokes make these symptoms even more bearable and enjoyable. A joke will brighten the quietest of days and encourage you to persist in thoroughly unhealthy behaviour. Jokes should therefore carry a health warning. They can kill. Alcohol, for example, is a depressant. It also destroys your liver and does untold damage to your wallet. So if you want to drink a little more without suffering undue consequences, you have to enjoy a good laugh. This is why the Irish go to pubs to drink - they are serious in the pursuit of healthy behaviour. The British, of course, are quite different. They go to the pub to escape their spouses. This is not especially healthy since the cure is temporary and does not deal with the symptoms. But perhaps they are not open to being addressed.With the trend towards alternative therapy increasing, doctors are beginning to take comedy seriously. The Germans have already decided that this is no laughing matter. A psychologist, Dr Michael Titze, has started to use laughter therapy. His patients suffer from unfunny symptoms: «Shame, fear, inferiority complex, terror of failure. As a result, they endure eating disorders, depressions and a sense of aimlessness.» The solution to their problems, according to Dr Michael Titze, is laughter therapy, not despair. The idea is you should not take yourself quite so seriously, not believe all the nonsense in the media about perfect people who lead perfect lives. Just because your girlfriend does not look like Madonna or Britney or your boyfriend does not look like Bill Clinton or Boris Yeltsin, there is no reason for despair. Things could be even worse. No, much better. Enjoy the imperfect is the moral of the tale. Lots of imperfection does you very good. «The diaphragm jumps up and down, the inner organs are massaged, problems are laughed away,» said Titze. Enjoy, quite simply.