The National Institute for Play unlocks the human potential through play in all stages of life using science to discover all that play has to teach us about transforming our world.


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About This Video
Patch Adams M.D. spends his life demonstrating the power of play to expand and enrich our lives.

Personal Health and Well Being

Play is the gateway to vitality.

By its nature it is uniquely and intrinsically rewarding. It generates optimism, seeks out novelty, makes perseverance fun, leads to mastery, gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy and promotes a sense of belonging and community. Each of these play by-products are indices of personal health, and their shortage predicts impending health problems and personal fragility.

A life or a culture devoid of or deficient in play exists as a heightened major public health risk factor. The prevalence of depression, stress related diseases, interpersonal violence, the addictions, and other health and well being problems can be linked, like a deficiency disease, to the prolonged deprivation of play.

Each person has a unique play personality ... when one remains in touch with it. ... when it is actualized, it empowers and brings pleasure to life.

Play trumpets the body and mind to heed its call to action. Its physical manifestations in children alter the appetite’s “set point” acting thereby as an antidote to obesity.

By promoting projects that bring the rewards of play and divulging its contributions to human health and well being, the National Institute for Play is on the forefront of enhancing public health and well being.

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