As the unhelpful platitude goes, laughter is the best medicine. Well, it might not be able to cure anything, but laughter does seem to stop the pain. New research published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society links social laughter to a boosted pain threshold. The researchers ran tests in both labs and the wild — at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival — and found that after being thoroughly amused, their subjects had significantly higher pain thresholds.
By the way, if you're at all interested in how you cause pain in a scientific manner without doing any real damage, this paper's a goldmine of fun facts. They use a frozen vacuum wine cooler sleeve, fully inflated blood pressure measurers, and stress positions until the subject couldn't handle it anymore.
The researchers weren't actually just in this for the joy of torturing random tourists visiting Edinburgh, but rather to see if social laughter releases endorphins, which are strongly tied to pain tolerance, and could be natural pain-killers. They're also linked to feelings of joy and camaraderie, both in ample supply when L your FAO.