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Wellness Projects

"Hidden within every problem lies an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem."
- Albert Einstein

 

 


photo of pediatric patient at UCLA taking part in Rx Laughter therapeutic project.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Barton Photography for Rx Laughter

 

 

"Cancer is a difficult illness to deal with and this makes many patients depressed. Doctors can treat cancer patients with medicine and improve their overall general condition. However, the nurses and doctors are not always fully equipped to deal with mental health. Here in Thailand, there is a lack of psychologists and psychiatrists at hospitals. In the southern part of Thailand, there is only 1 psychiatrist for 4 southern provinces. Adding Rx Laughter humor therapy will help us to explore ways that improve the mental condition of our patients. This is very beneficial to the hospital and to our patients as we find new ways to help improve their overall well-being." Tanadej Sinthusake MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute, Mahavajiralongkorn Cancer Center in Thailand.

 

Overview

Here is a Timeline of several of our most significant humor research, therapeutic and educational programs. (Earliest on top, most recent on bottom). For the very latest and more in depth project info, please see our other Wellness Projects pages.


1. Through research projects such as our medical lab research with UCLA, we have learned the importance of comedy as part of pain management for children. Evidence-Based Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine - October, 2007 "Laughter, Humor and Pain Perception in Children" and American Medical Association worldwide press briefing - February, 2002


2. Translating this into therapeutic and educational care, we help children in intensive care, critical isolation, outpatient infusion and dialysis treatments using comedy to bring emotional and physical relief, give an uplifting perspective, and bring laughter to these seriously ill children and their families Our digital Rx Laughter Comedy Coping Clip, which we formed in July 2015, has reached thousands of youth who might otherwise not have access to volunteer visits due to geographical isolation or lack of community resources.


3. The Rx Laughter "Student Pair Up" program matches students with children with serious illnesses to offer comfort and relief at nearby hospitals and clinics nationwide in person and digitally. See our Student Pair Up section to learn more.


4. Rx Laughter uses comedy to help adults
undergoing treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses fro under-served patients in other countries. Rx Laughter and the National Cancer Institute of Thailand helped under-served adult inpatients receiving cancer treatments who lack resources for psychotherapy and in many cases are without a strong support system of family or friends. Offering comedy in support groups relieves stress and worry and helps them bond with each other and their nurses. Medical staff said that they were happier and less stressed knowing that their patients were having a good time. A surprising finding: Comedy helped the patients sleep better during the time that they were undergoing their medical treatments at the hospital which indicates that comedy can be used as pain management for adults in pain. The control group did not report the same effects in our project. "Understanding the Effects of Humor Therapy on Patients' Self-Reports of Pain, Comfort and Anxiety"


5. Our therapeutic programs in the USA introduces comedy in support groups for cancer patients at clinics such as the Markstein Cancer Education and Prevention Center in Oakland, California and the Edelman Westside Mental Health Clinic in Los Angeles, California. Those who participate say that comedy helps them to "unclot" feelings in new ways through our programs.


6. Rx Laughter uses the powerful benefits of comedy to help young adults in recovery from addictions to alcohol, prescription medications and drugs such as heroin. We are collaborating with the Highpoint Treatment Center in Brockton, Massachusetts with Clinic Director & Harvard Psychiatry Professor Joseph Shrand MD. Using comedy in their support groups under the guidance of trained clinicians, we help improve the quality and quantity of disclosures in therapy sessions and educate the teens about how comedy can be used as an effective tool to reduce inner conflict and stress and improve communications with others.


7. Educational outreach about the power of comedy in medicine includes presentations at American Cinematheque (Marx Bros. screenings), University of California at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse "Discovery Sunday" program (Charlie Chaplin screening of Limelight), and the "Legacy of Laughter" event presented by Lucie Arnaz with panelists that included Sherry Dunay Hilber (the Founder of Rx Laughter) and Marc Cherry the Creator of "Desperate Housewives."


8. The Rx Laughter Humor and Medicine Library is a comprehensive academic reference manual (hard copy only) that includes the most significant scientific research regarding the connection between positive emotion and health. It includes a brief and clear summary of each article. Because it is quite extensive, we can only make it available for a reasonable fee that includes preparation, copying, shipping. Thank you to Joy Bhosai for meticulous work putting this resource together.


9. The Rx Laughter Humanistic Writing Competition inspires writers to use comedy to address the human condition in a meaningful, entertaining way. Past supporters include William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Playtone, ABC, and Chuck Lorre Productions.

10. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious problem for many military families. Relationship issues with children who are becoming reacquainted with their mother or father are one of the consequences of long separations. In comedy improvisational workshops such as the one that we held at the UCLA Nathanson Family Resource Center with Second City faculty, military families can learn fun communication skills to bring them closer together. http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/military-families-invited-to-improvisational-231829.aspx

11. In the summer of 2016, the Rx Laughter Digital Wellness Center began. Programs include Prescribed!, Prescribed4Kids, Comedy Coping Clips and the Student/Hospital Pair Up Program.


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