Strengthening Doctor-Patient Relationships: Rajiv Samant, MD is a Radiation Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center in Canada. Aside from medical practice, Dr. Samant co-wrote the 2016 illustrated book, “Smiles from the Clinic: A Humorous Look at Cancer.”
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the division of abnormal cells, which can attack surrounding tissue. While cancer is no laughing matter, Dr. Samant has found a place for humor in the medical community and believes it can help strengthen doctor-patient relationships.
According to Dr. Samant, “the consensus in the medical community is that humor is a good thing for patients and staff, and it is time to promote and prescribe humor as part of the management plan for patients with cancer.” However, not all patients take to humor as well as others, and doctors should be cautious using humor in a delicate situation.
A good laugh is a lot like a mild workout. It can help boost your blood pressure and heart rate, which sends oxygen to tissues throughout your body. According to researcher William Fry, one minute of hearty laughter is equivalent to ten minutes on a rowing machine. So next time you miss your morning workout, share an afternoon laugh with a friend.
Professionals are uncertain whether humor can help fight cancer. However, five decades of research have revealed the physical and psychological health benefits. To celebrate these findings, check out these three health benefits of humor:
Strengthening Doctor-Patient Relationships - Humor Health Benefit #1: Reduce Stress
Laughter is known to reduce stress hormones, which in turn can help alleviate stress and anxiety in patients. Lowered stress hormones can help boost immune system performance, which may help combat diseases such as cancer.
Strengthening Doctor-Patient Relationships - Humor Health Benefit #2: Boost Immunity
A strong immune system can help your body fight infection and fend off any potential health threats. Studies show that humor and regular laughter can help boost your immune system and increase the number of infection-fighting antibodies in your body.
Strengthening Doctor-Patient Relationships - Humor Health Benefit #3: Stimulate Organs
Endorphins are chemicals that act as natural painkillers within the body. When you laugh, endorphins are released and interact with receptors in the brain. This contributes to the good feeling you experience when laughing. Laughter also stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, which can leave you feeling relaxed.
*Information gathered from Conquer Magazine’s October 2016 Vol. 2, No. 5 publication of Rajiv Samant, MD’s “Humor is No Laughing Matter: The Health Benefits of Humor.” Additional sources include: