It has been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. People practicing Laughter Yoga regularly report amazing improvement in their health as well as a more positive mental attitude and higher energy levels. The first thing participants say is that they don’t fall sick very often; the frequency of normal cold and flu reduces or even disappears. There are daily reports of partial or total cure of most stress-related illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, depression, asthma, arthritis, allergies, stiff muscles and more. While this sounds fantastic, it all makes perfect sense, as laughter is nature’s best cure for stress.
Most illnesses today are stress related and chronic stress attacks the immune system and makes us vulnerable to infections, virus attack and cancer. In fact, this is a major motive for people taking to Laughter Yoga. You can feel the difference from the very first session. You get energized; your mood changes and you feel great. With regular practice you can experience a big change in mental and physical health. Laughter Yoga practitioners are happier and healthier; they can cope with stress better, and have a positive outlook on life.
How Laughter Yoga Works As Laughter Therapy
The healing effects of Laughter Yoga come from following reasons. The immune system is the master key of health and if it weakens one is exposed to constant infection and sickness. Scientific research by Dr. Lee Berk from Loma Linda University, California proved that laughter strengthens the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells and increase in the antibodies. Dr. Kataria says, “Ever since I started the laughter clubs, I don't suffer from cough, cold or sore throat anymore.”
The disease process has two components according to Dr. Kataria – one is the organic disease itself; and the second is the mental component in the form of anxiety, fear and depression. Why people get therapeutic benefits from Laughter Yoga so quickly is because it removes the mental factor immediately and one finds an improvement in symptoms. Rest of the healing effects comes from increasing oxygen supply to the body cells, strengthening the immune system, increasing blood circulation and creating positive mental state.
Laughter Therapy For Reducing Stress
Stress and depression are two major components of ill health. Most health benefits people get are because they are able to manage physical, mental and emotional stress with Laughter Yoga exercises. Once the stress levels are down, the immune system becomes stronger automatically.
Laughter Yoga As An Exercise
As a medical practitioner for over 25 years, Dr. Kataria says that people often fall sick due to indiscriminate eating and lack of exercise. In this high-pressure, high tension modern world people have little or no time to exercise. Dr. William Fry, well-known research scientist from Stanford University scientifically proved that 10 minutes of healthy laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter is the best cardio workout. As an exercise it has similar benefits as compared to any other aerobic activities like jogging, dining swimming and cycling. Laughter Yoga is ideally suitable for people who cannot walk; have no time to exercise like business professionals and those who are bedridden.
Laughter Therapy For Cancer Patients
The immune system plays an important role in the causation and prognosis of cancer. In fact, cancer is most likely to occur because of a weak immune system. Most of the natural treatments for cancer are focused on strengthening the immune system to stem the rapid growth of cancer cells. Laughter therapy increases the count of natural killer cells which is an important component of the immune system and helps to overcome and destroy cancer cells.
Laughter Therapy And Role Of Oxygen
Dr. Otto Warburg, German scientist and Nobel Laureate said that the main reason we fall sick is because there is lack of oxygen in the body cells. Since Laughter Yoga combines laughter exercises and breathing from yoga, it brings more oxygen to the body and brain. Good supply of oxygen is the key for maintaining good health as well as healing a variety of illnesses. It is also important for people suffering from cancer and chronic respiratory diseases like bronchitis and others.
Laughter Therapy For Depression
Depression is the number one sickness in the world and millions of dollars are spent on producing antidepressant drugs especially in the west where people feel lonelier and isolated due to high divorce rate, faulty relationship patterns etc. Laughter Yoga is extremely therapeutic for depression as it helps to release certain neurotransmitters from the brain cells as well as help people to stay connected and share their feelings and emotions.
Laughter Therapy For Heart Disease And Blood Pressure
High blood pressure and heart diseases are increasing at an alarming rate because of tremendous stress. Dr. Michael Miller of Maryland University did some scientific study and proved that laughter improves blood circulation to the coronary arteries and also dilates the blood vessels to help reduce blood pressure. People coming to Laughter Yoga clubs found that their blood pressure came down considerably and they could reduce antihypertensive medication. This also helps to reduce the risk of a brain stroke. A scientific study in Bangalore, India confirmed that Laughter Yoga therapy reduces both systolic and as well as diastolic BP.
Laughter Therapy For Mental Health
A major causal factor of many illnesses is a person's inability to express their feelings and emotions. People are afraid of reactions and conflict. As a result they suppress and hold their emotions which ultimately affect the immune system adversely leading to a variety of sickness. Laughter Yoga is a cathartic exercise which helps people release their blocked emotions in a non-violent way and makes them emotionally balanced. Bangalore research indicates that Laughter Yoga also helps to increase positive emotions and decrease the negative ones thereby promoting a healthy life.
Laughter Therapy For Diabetes
Dr. Lee Berk’s recent study confirms that laughter therapy significantly helps to bring down blood sugar levels thereby controlling diabetes. A research study in Bhopal monitored some laughter club members suffering from diabetes and found that the laughter group had a better control of blood sugar than those doing other exercises.
Laughter Therapy For Chronic Illnesses
Since most people in laughter clubs in India are 50 and above, they are likely to suffer from several age related illnesses. We found that they benefited immensely from Laughter Yoga and the incidence of chronic illnesses like arthritis, chronic aches and pains, migraine headaches, allergies, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis was greatly reduced. It may not cure the disease but definitely helps in enhancing one’s ability to cope with and maintain a positive attitude.