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Healthcare With Humor: The Sibley Memorial Hospital Laugh Cafe

Posted by Brian Spence on Mar 18, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Healthcare, Healthcare Staffing, Allied HealthWhen we think of healthcare facilities, we tend to think of white-walled hospitals, sad patients, and dreary atmospheres. The consequential effects are profound, especially for patients that must stay longer for treatment or recovery. With an environment that does not inspire confidence, how can healthcare providers turn their facilities into healing spaces?

Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital responded to this problem with their Laugh Cafe, a monthly, hour-long program that encourages laughter and joking. Seniors, patients, family members, and even the public are encouraged to attend and share their jokes. There is a one-time $40 fee to join the program, but afterward, the price of admission is just a joke. The program has been running since 2012 and continues to run by popular demand.

As a healthcare alternative to traditional methods--such as medicine or therapy--the Laugh Cafe produces great benefits.

For one, laughing reduces stress by cooling your stress responses, which can also lead to lower blood pressure. Laughing also disrupts what doctors call the "pain-spasm" cycle, which can cause the patient to feel less pain. The workout from sustained laughing for 10-15 minutes also burns a few calories and gets the heart pumping. Research has also shown that laughing can help boost your immune system: the positive feelings and emotions from laughing cause the body to produce more infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells.

You don't need a local laugh cafe however to get the benefits of laughing. By visiting a stand-up comedy show, watching comedy movies and TV, or reading and sharing jokes, you can laugh more and benefit from the results.

To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog. And if you need talented healthcare professionals for your organization, we are here to help.

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