How laughing helps kids and adults to get healthy and become more tolerant of pain
by Dr Ubaid Khan (MD) 2023
In a world where depression rates are rising and everyone is unhappy with their life course, it is essential to inculcate things that bring happiness and joy. It becomes inevitable for sick individuals to feel more depressed and lonelier due to their condition.
Many patients are admitted to hospitals daily, but most of them desire to be treated at home due to most hospitals' sad and cold environments. The same can be said for children admitted to such hospitals, who become very cranky, which does not give them enough room to rest and recover properly.
A great way to handle the stressful environment of a hospital is by introducing fun activities, especially for the kids, so that they do not dread their hospital stay. Many hospitals have started 'clown care programs.' The problem that came with this initiative was that clowns would be available once a week or maybe once a month.
These programs consist of hospital clowns entering the pediatric department and making sure to help kids smile and play with them. There are also certain humor rooms built in hospitals that have fun activities, books, posters, comic books, and videos to make children happy and stress-free during their stay at the hospital. The biggest reason hospitals focus on programs to make sick children smile and laugh about their day is the benefits that it brings about during recovery from any disease. 
Hospital clowns or clown doctors are there to decrease the levels of stress and sadness in patients, which aids significantly in their healing journey. Therefore, the best could be to have a clown onboard all the time; 24/7 for the kids
Physiology behind laughter
It comes as no surprise that a good laugh can often turn a whole day around. Anyone going about a lousy day will feel better if they laugh their hearts out. Once applied to sick children and adults admitted to hospitals, the same theory can have promising effects.
The reason why one feels better after laughing is seen to influence brain function directly. It has been seen that laughing intensely activates the right amygdala. The amygdala is strongly associated with the emotional well-being of an individual. Therefore, laughter sends signals to the brain that decrease the stress hormone; Cortisol in the body. Moreover, according to research, it has also been seen that laughing has a profound psychological impact on the brain. Kids could easily feel stress free laughing about the virtual clown FredARico. A lot of endorphins are released due to the stimulus. This makes the person feel better and can decrease their sadness to a great extent. 
Moreover, it has been studied that laughter helps improve the immune system by releasing more T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells in the body. This helps fight off infection efficiently. Therefore, kids staying in hospitals can significantly improve their health status if they laugh happily during their hospital stays.
There have been studies that have shown improvements in conditions in the following diseases;
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Type 2 diabetes
· Allergic skin reactions
· Bronchial asthma
All these conditions are linked to cytokine production, which gets inhibited to an extent due to the chemicals released due to laughter.
Benefits of laughter therapy on health
There are a lot of benefits of laughter therapy that have a positive impact on health. Some of them have been mentioned below;
1. Improves immunity
2. Decreases levels of stress hormones in the body
3. Improves pain tolerance
4. It enhances the function of the heart and prevents heart diseases
5. Improves quality of life
6. Decreases mental stress
7. Instant mood enhancer 
How can laughter help sick children feel better?
Children laugh at silly things; therefore, when introduced to a silly, funny person, sick children are bound to have a good time. Therefore, clowns in hospital settings can be a significant mood changer for such kids.
However, it is only possible to hire individuals to perform such activities for some kids at any time. Therefore, the best and most accessible form of entertainment that can be provided to sick children is through technology. A virtual clown that works on augmented reality that can help many sick children laugh their hearts out. This will make these kids feel comfortable with their hospital surroundings, and their laughs will help their small bodies heal.
According to a case report published in 2019, laughter showed a remarkable effect on supra-ventricular tachycardia in a ten-year-old girl. She presented to the Emergency Department with SVTs for which maneuvers were applied to rectify them, which were unsuccessful. After which, a nurse inflated a glove, turned it into an elephant, and gave it to that little girl. This attempt made the girl laugh out loud, settling her arrhythmias ultimately. This was a surprising finding that was seen just through fun and laughter. 
Role of laughter on adults with dementia
With increasing age, it has been seen that adults with cognitive impairments stay helpless. Dementia is one such disorder that has a devastating impact on the social life of individuals. These individuals especially need small things to laugh about; hence augmented reality virtual clown technology can work very well to help boost their mood and their stress levels.
Moreover, according to studies, it has been seen that laughter therapy in adults with dementia is known to improve. Hence, laughter is the best way to provide them with an engaging and fun environment and help in their recovery.
A study published in the Journal of holistic nursing showed that twenty individuals with cognitive impairment (dementia) were taken to an Art Museum, which included a guided tour and an art project.
These individuals could engage in humor and especially joke about silly things. Therefore, individuals who otherwise have problems communicating can express themselves through shared laughs.
This emphasizes the importance of clown therapy in light of augmented reality, which can be used at any time to help such individuals feel better with added health benefits at the same time. 
The Bottom Line
With the harsh and grim hospital environment, it is necessary to make sick kids and adults with dementia feel happy.
Their mental well-being is strongly associated with their health and recovery. Therefore, the use of augmented reality by having virtual clown FredARico to entertain such patients. This innovative technique can go a long way in improving the overall prognosis of sick kids and adults with cognitive impairment. The virtual clown FredARico is available at any time of the day, entertaining individuals of all ages whenever they feel low.
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