The Best Medicine? | Metro News

Patient Commando gets the blood pumping with a big dose of its laughter therapy program. The non-profit group helps support those with chronic disease, in severe pain.

They’re not sick jokes, but rather jokes for the sick.

A new, non-profit company called Patient Commando is making sure that stories about health struggles — both sad and funny — get told and listened to. Laughter therapy has long been known as a powerful tool to release tension and get the blood pumping more efficiently.

In Patient Commando’s promotional video, a comedic actor spoofs everyone’s worst hospital nightmare.

Donning his hat, socks and shoes, he tries to make a dignified exit, but his hospital gown isn’t done up and his bare bum jiggles hilariously for all to see.

Comic relief — through laugh therapy and live theatre shows — is one of the ways that Patient Commando helps support people who have chronic disease, terminal disease or are suffering from bereavement.

The company also encourages people to tell their stories. “I’m interested in the expression of the story,” says Toronto founder of Patient Commando Zal Press.

“Listen to the patient voice.”

Press himself has struggled with the painful symptoms of Crohn’s disease, an inflammation of the intestines, for 30 years. “It feels like a cat trapped inside my gut trying to claw its way out,” he tells Metro.

Press gave up his job selling home decor to start Patient Commando. The company will be conducting public “laugh therapy” workshops at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto from June 15 to July 30.

For more information, go to

– Celia Milne, Metro

Published in Metro – Wellness Section – Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good laughs: It seems obvious that laughing is good for us, but is there actual evidence? Spanish researchers assessed all the literature they could find about laughter therapy. A good chuckle has health benefits that are:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Quality-of-life relate