Rx Laughter Mission, Values and Methods:
Rx Laughter is a 501c3 public charity. We were founded in 1998 by ABC and CBS veteran primetime programming executive Sherry Hilber. We began as a laughter research charity for children with physical illnesses at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, learning how comedy can alleviate pain and anxiety for children during a painful medical procedure. Based on the successful findings of this lab research, Rx Laughter has since expanded into therapeutic and education programs that uses the power of comedy care to improve coping, communication and quality of life for those struggling with serious emotional and physical challenges. Our programs are volunteer-based. We honor and respect each individual's needs and we adhere to privacy rules. Photos and other information about children are included only after parental consent is given to Rx Laughter.
Through the power of comedy, we help the individual recharge so that he/she can meet and face serious emotional and physical challenges with a renewed soul and spirit, leading to improved healing and long term well-being. We do not perform psychotherapy and we do not touch upon issues that will create anxiety or stress.
Comedy brings immediate relief from pain and sadness. This is especially helpful in the short term, giving us a chance to recharge and renew from the exhausting emotional and physical effects of illness. We have implemented Rx Laughter therapy programs for pediatric patients to help them cope with serious medical conditions such as chronic pain, recovery from surgery, bone marrow treatments, critical isolation care, infusion treatments, addictions, depression, trauma, anger and anxiety. We relieve pain and offer freedom from the constant reminders of illness, pain and fear. This allows patients to feel like a "normal" person, to laugh, feel less alone, and to cope with the treatments with renewed energy. Our program is based upon our laughter therapy research collaboration with The UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center (see further below).
Rx Laughter Educational Programs: Humor therapy can be longer-term and can produce a new way of viewing a difficult situation, offering light at the end of the tunnel. A humorous outlook for those in support groups for emotional issues as a result of physical illness or trauma can produce longer lasting changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors for improved coping and communication. Through our humor therapy programs, we help young adults with behavioral and emotional issues who are in support groups at mental health clinics. These children and adolescents are often struggling with issues such as anger, addiction, recovery from trauma and behavioral issues that interfere with healthy relationships. In sessions led by our volunteers, we use a variety of interactive techniques with one thing in common - they all use comedy as a way of opening the door to uncomfortable feelings and painful memories with a fresh perspective in a non-threatening, sensitive,
compassionate way. Sessions are supervised by their clinician with the goals of new and healthier insights, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.
Rx Laughter Research: In 1999, we conceptualized, raised seed funding for and partnered with UCLA's Margaret Stuber MD and Lonnie Zeltzer MD on a medical lab research project at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, Mattel Children's Hospital and The Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute studying how comedy can help children who were having a painful medical procedure. Our results, published in ECAM in 2007 were surprising: Simply put, when the children enjoyed funny, uplifting clips, they were able to tolerate the painful medical procedure better. The most interesting finding was that the children did not have to laugh out loud to reap the emotional and physical benefits of comedy. The enjoyment of the humorous videos was enough to produce the beneficial results! The children were able to go through the medical procedure with less pain - and their anxiety decreased. While preliminary, these results were solid enough for an outside scientific peer-reviewed medical board to approve it for publication in the international medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, October 2007. Laughter, Humor and Pain Perception in Children: A Pilot Study -- Stuber et al. 6 (2): 271 -- Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
As a result of our laughter research findings at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, Mattel UCLA Children's Hospital and Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute, we moved forward to use comedy clips in therapeutic settings to brighten mood, relieve pain and reduce loneliness. As mentioned earlier on this page, we brought laughter therapy to outpatient pediatric outpatient Dialysis, Infusion, ICU and Critical Isolation and more. We have since expanded to include many other forms of comedy techniques to alleviate pain and suffering and improve quality of life.
A timeline of our past programs can be viewed on the Wellness Projects main page.
In 2015, we started our expansion into the use of media arts & technology with digital programs. More information can be viewed on the News-Project Updates page.
Home page last updated August 28, 2015.
Website written and edited by Sherry Hilber.
Website programmer: Daniel Simkins
No reproduction or other usage of any text,
photos or other materials that are on this website are allowable
without the permission of Rx Laughter Inc.