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Laughter and health: A critical review of the literature

26 July 1999


This paper presents a review of the literature on humor, laughter, and health. The discipline of psychoneuroimmunology will provide the context for a brief examination of how the immune, endocrine, and neural systems function interactively, and the literature on the relationship between humor associated mirthful laughter and immunocompetence will be presented. The literature to be presented will address the effectiveness of using humor associated mirthful laughter as a treatment intervention for individuals suffering from both physical and mental illnesses. Research studies have generated data that support the use of mirthful laughter as a treatment intervention, although further research is needed to substantiate all the claims made by researchers.


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