WELLNESS
07/19/2015 10:31 am ET Updated Jul 20, 2015

Hospital's 'Laugh Cafe' For Seniors Proves That Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital has a whole program dedicated to laughter.

Need a good laugh? Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital has you covered with their "Laugh Cafe."

A part of the Sibley Senior Association, which was launched in 1987, Sibley's Laugh Cafe is exactly what it sounds like -- a room next to the hospital cafeteria where senior citizens go to tell jokes and laugh.

The Laugh Cafe opened in August of 2012, and it holds monthly, hour-long laugh sessions. There's a one-time forty dollar fee to join, and from there the price of admission is a joke. Although the program is primarily for seniors, patients and family members are also invited to join. 

"I had heard about the health benefits of laughter yoga so I informally surveyed my favorite jokester members," Senior Association director Marti Bailey told The Huffington Post. "The overwhelming reaction was that they wanted a reason to laugh and rejected laughter simply for laughter’s sake.”

Sibley's Laugh Cafe was born from this idea, and it continues to be a popular program among hospital residents. Bailey said that although most members arrive with pretty tame jokes, they can get a bit "racy."

"People often ask if the jokes are censored or if there is a standard for what kind of joke might be acceptable. I respond that the members are all adults and as a club have elected to be self-governing and open about the types of jokes offered," she explained.

"So far members have provided jokes that are generally clean, sometimes word play that produce audible groans, and sometimes a little 'racy' or edgy. Everyone has a different sense of humor. All have laughed and none have complained. And people keep coming back."

There's a reason laughing makes these seniors feel so darn good -- various studies have shown how beneficial laughter can be. Along with relieving stress and lowering blood pressure, laughter has been shown to relieve pain and boost the immune system

Who wouldn't want to spent some time at a Laugh Cafe?!  

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