We all have a good laugh when something funny comes on TV, and even more perversely when someone accidentally goes skidding on the ice (or maybe that’s just me) nevertheless, we all have a laughter trigger. There are lots of reasons why we should laugh more but here are my top 3…..
- Laughter lifts our mood and alleviates symptoms of stress & anxiety instantaneously
- Just 10 mins of belly laughter everyday can release enough seratonin (happy chemical) to help conditions causing physical pain.
- Laughter not only gives your face a great workout (making you look younger) it’s also contagious – when you laugh others laugh too but even more importantly, it’s fantastic for the respiratory system (your lungs)
Laughter works in exactly the same way as the anti depressant you get prescribed from your doctor but with no side effects except happy ones.
So how do we connect Laughter with Health?
In 1995 Medical Dr. Madan Kataria, founded the Laughter Club of India, has started a revolution of joy and laughter that is spreading around the world. A former Allopathic Physician and ex-registrar at the Jaslok Hospital (Bombay) in Internal Medicine and Cardiology, he now has thousands of people laughing their way to better health.
Dr. Kataria developed a new technique of Laughter Therapy called Laughter Yoga involving self-induced laughter, subtle yoga exercises, breathing techniques and stretching exercises. There’s also lots of joy & playfulness thrown in which kind of releases the inner child that often gets forgotten in adulthood.
During his research into the power of laughter, Dr. Kataria discovered a large amount of scientific literature about the benefits of laughter on the human mind and body: “I was very impressed by the American journalist Norman Cousins, whose book, Anatomy of an Illness, describes how he laughed his way out of an incurable disease of the spine. Cousins said, ‘What was significant about the laughter…was not just the fact that it provides internal exercise for a person…a form of jogging for the innards, but that it creates a mood in which the other positive emotions can be put to work, too.'”
Having discovered this testimony, it hit Dr Kataria like a bolt from the blue….. “If laughter is so good, why not start a laughter club?” Several hours later he tried out the idea with the regulars at his local park who initially reacted with, “Doc, are you OK?”, “Are you crazy?” He eventually motivated four of them to start laughing in a corner of the park. Others laughed at the concept and ridiculed the idea but were converted when the health benefits were explained. Attendance grew and the rest, as they say, is history. There are now hundreds and hundreds of Laughter Clubs all over the world, including India, USA, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, France, Malaysia and Dubai.
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