Laughter May Be the Best Pain Medicine

Laughing alone is good. Laughing with friends is even better.

A recent study explores laughter’s impact on sensitivity to pain and the role of endorphins in the process.

According to study researcher Robin Dunbar, of the University Oxford:

“We think that it is the bonding effects of the endorphin rush that explain why laughter plays such an important role in our social lives.”

In the study, research participants where tested for pain tolerance, then exposed to a laugh-inducing or control experience and tested for pain tolerance again. In all tests, using different methods to induce laughter and whether done in groups or alone, the participants’ ability to tolerate pain increased substantially after laughing. Watching only 15 minutes of comedy increased tolerance 10 percent. Laughing in groups had a greater impact than laughing alone.