Are you kidding me?

A Therapeutic Story – as told by “Uncle” Norman

François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher, is credited with the following audacious quote: “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”. Don’t laugh… out loud.

Look, according to Barbara Crăciun, in her peer reviewed Theoretical Paper titled “Humour as a Defence Mechanism and Working Instrument of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” humour is accompanied by laughter, and its ending produces a discharge of endorphins with immune-stimulating, calming, sedative and euphoric effects. Please note that Barbara Crăciun is NOT, by no stretch of the imagination, the first nor the last “professional” to draw attention to the medicinal powers of laughter. We could have easily chosen to draw attention to the enduring work of Tannie (pronounced as ˈtæni) Evita Bezuidenhout, who is still regarded as the most famous white woman in South Africa, but we feared that some of our readers would fail to see the humour in that. 

Now back to the serious stuff. In view of laughter’s general health enhancing properties and its purported relief of minor symptoms, are we wrong in assuming that laughter could be classified as complementary medicine by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAPHRA)

If so, would it be considered an abuse of regulatory authority if SAPHRA were to compel those of who distribute and/or sell laughter, to register this unregulated complementary medicine accordingly. 

Register? How?

If this were to EVER happen, as stranger things have befallen us before (i.e. remember the travel regulation stemming from an “allegedly” (as we have no tangible proof) estranged and possibly peeved hypothetical representative member of the general public, which: required that all travellers travelling with minors, under the age of 18, to produce an unabridged birth certificate, and a letter of parental consent if the child is not travelling with both parents, when departing from and arriving in South Africa), then the following conditions would apply for this ludic yet therapeutic complementary medicine:

By virtue of powers vested in SAPHRA by section 14(2) of the Medicines and Related Substance Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965), by resolution approved by the Minister of Health, determined that complementary medicines falling in Category D and in the different pharmacological classifications are subjected to registration as per the provisions of the Act. All complementary medicines, as defined, will be permitted continued rights of sale (someone please alert Trevor Noah), provided that:

  • An application is submitted for their registration by the prescribed deadlines of the applicable Call-up notice;
  • They are manufactured, imported, exported, wholesaled or distributed by a holder of a relevant licence contemplated in section 22C(1)(b) of the Medicines Act at the end of the timeframe specified herein;
  • They are specifically compliant with the requirements of section 20 and regulations 10, 11, 12 and 42 as prescribed, and are compliant with any other relevant provisions of the Medicines Act and its regulations; and
  • They are indicated based on LOW RISK (as is the case for laughter), which includes:
  • General health enhancement without any reference to specific diseases;
  • Health maintenance; or
  • Relief of minor symptoms (not related to a disease or disorder).

While we anxiously await that fateful day, laugh as much and as passionately as you can. For, just as Voltaire pointed out, laughter is the best (free) medicine.