top of page

Healing Effects of Humor: A Critique on Tait Russell’s Article ‘Healing Humor’

Have you ever wondered about humor and the pros of humor? This author does. Tait Russell wrote an article entitled “Healing Humor.” The Humorist Tait Russell thesis is “Research is showing that laughter is good medicine.” He believes this is true by examples, medical case studies, and pure logic.

First, he provided the example of Norman Cousin. Norman Cousin was experiencing Spondylitis (an illness that causes “acute inflammation of the spine”). Norm realized that laughter was a cure to his illness. Russell explained that Norman Cousin diet “consisted of 10 minutes of hearty laughter which was by watching hilarious movies and shows”. Therefore, the example of Norman Cousin proves that laughter can be a good medicine.

Second, he provided medical case studies that point well-deserved facts. Russell had a staggering statistic, provided by the Stanford school of Medicine, which indicated that kindergarten students laugh 300 times a day. Another fact is that laughter can help guard you against a heart attack. This study of heart attacks was done by cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. According Russell, Dr. Miller said “laughter is linked to healthy blood vessels.” Miller continued, “People with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations. [So] the ability to laugh may have important implications in the U.S where heart disease remains the number-one killer. ” Russell is indicating that the University of Maryland Medical Center has important research that laughter is good medicine. Therefore, he pointed out medical case studies to show that laughter is a good medicine.

Third, he used reason to drive his thesis home. Russell reasoned that humor integrated both hemispheres of the brain, boosts your immune system, can guard you against a heart attack, and can be aerobic. Humor integrates both hemispheres of the brain because the left hemisphere “helps decipher the verbal part of the joke’, while the right hemisphere “determines whether it is funny.” Russell indicated that humor boosts your immune system because laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and “boosts the immune function”. Therefore, he used reasons to drive his thesis home.

Russell concluded his article with this quote, “You might say that: ‘He who laughs…lasts.’”


This article was about the healing effect of humor. Humor healing effects are important because it help citizens heal more effective and also may decrease citizens’ chances of a heart attack. This author main objective was to show by research that laughter is a good medicine. Russell argument was that research has shown that laughter is a good medicine. His audience was humorists, and average readers.

He backed up his argument using the rhetorical triangle which was made possible by none other than the great Aristotle. The rhetorical triangle included pathos, logos, and ethos.

First, He backed up his argument using pathos. He connected the reader to the story of Norman Cousin, an average man that was experiencing spondylitis and also by giving us a cute imagery of kindergartens laughing their head off 300 times a day.

Second, he backed up his argument using ethos. He connected the reader by having the values and ethics of Humor, compassion, and respect. These values showed how laughter is benefiting the quality of life of citizens.

Third, he backed up his argument using logos. He provided the reader with several facts. One major fact he showed is that “laughter, plus an active sense of humor, can guard you against a heart attack.” Another major fact he showed is that “laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexibility, and boosts the immune functions.”

Therefore, he used pathos, ethos, and logos to prove that laughter is good medicine to the heart, to the immune system, and to the integration of both hemispheres of the brain.


  I agree that humor can have healing effect, but sometimes life does not provide us with healing humor.

How can we be humorous when thousands of houses are flooded by Hurricane Florence? How can we be humorous when a Supreme Court nominee is faced with allegations? How can we be Humorous when people end up in car wrecks? These questions all point to the conclusion that humor can be good medicine to the world’s problems.

Healing Humor does not always serve the best. Sometimes, people use poor jokes to ridicule the other people and destroy other people’s lives. In Addition, Humor can have a negative effect on people.

For Example, CNN reported that President Trump was Ridiculing the Ford’s testimony and that did not look good for President Trump. In summary, you should not use humor like President Trump to devastate people’s lives. 

Therefore, when downhearted and full of heart, laughter is a good medicine. First, it helps boosts our immune system. Second, it helps guard us from heart attacks. Third, it helps us conquer sorrow and fearing the worst of life. Fourth, it helps us realize the serious implications of humor.

           In conclusion, humor can have a healing effect, but sometimes we abuse the healing effect of humor.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page