He shared a video of one of his house calls to a poor woman in another country who was very ill and in much pain. Using his humor, despite a language barrier, he had her sitting up, smiling, laughing, and singing. It was apparent that she experienced some relief from her suffering.
This was part of a talk I attended by Patch Adams (on whom the movie of the same name starring Robin Williams was based). “Patch” described how, as a doctor and a clown, he brings humor to the aid of those who are sick and suffering.
April is National Humor Month and Saturday, April 14, 2012, was International Moment of Laughter Day. Yes, that’s right – we have a day for a moment! That made me chuckle.
“Laughter comes right after breathing as just about the healthiest thing you can do,” says Izzy Gesell¹, a speaker who brings the concepts of Improv Theater into the business world. “It relieves stress, instills optimism, raises self-confidence, defuses resistance to change, and enhances all your relationships.”
Numerous clinical studies² on laughter have documented that laughter increases pain thresholds, reduces muscle tension, and improves the immune system – among other things.
The Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”³.
But how does laughter help? It’s not something administered to the body by a drug. It impacts thought. If consciousness affects health then it’s better to have healthy thoughts. It’s better to have funny thoughts.
Seriously! Patch shared that by keeping busy practicing medicine and sharing humor, during the past 50 years he has never thought a bad thought and never been sick.
It’s clear to me that the key ingredient Patch delivers with his humor is his love for those who are suffering. He told the audience that he is not a religious man, but if he calls spiritual love into action, then that makes him a spiritual person. He said he once hugged a patient for 12 hours. He spoke of wanting a revolution in loving.
That’s the thing then: calling spiritual love into action. Love is a spiritual thing that has its ultimate source in the divine. Laughter opens the heart to feel love and that brings comfort and healing.