You may laugh at this, but people in many parts of the world are laughing their way to good health by practicing Laughter Yoga. Yes, it’s really possible. The proverb that laughter is the best medicine is more of a practice today. It can transform our lives and ensure health and happiness. All we have to do is laugh! Yet, we don’t laugh enough. Laughter yoga is a new twist to an ancient practice and hugely beneficial. Laughter is an extremely contagious emotion and has no language or boundaries.
Besides increasing happiness, it also strengthens the immune system, reduces pain and lowers stress. It triggers the release of endorphins and promotes health. Combining laughter with yogic breathing has fantastic effects on the body and mind, and it does not require the practitioners to master any of the traditional yoga postures. Laughter yoga is known to increase oxygen intake and blood flow, improve blood vessel function, and lower blood pressure. Here are some prominent benefits of laughter yoga.
[expert_opinion expertname=’annieau’ opinion=”Yoga helps create harmony in our body, mind, and spirit. Like practicing a headstand, it takes consistent practice to master the pose. Laughing is the same. We can master joyfulness by practicing laughter yoga.”]
1. Stress Reliever
Laughter is an effective anti-stress emotion-filled activity and one of the best muscle relaxants. Laughter dilates blood vessels and supplies more blood to the muscles all over the body. A good laugh also reduces the levels of stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol. Laughing does not require any conscious thought process. Our senses effortlessly combine harmoniously resulting in joy, peace, and relaxation. Laughter is the easiest form of meditation, which brings instant relaxation. Whereas, other types of meditation require undivided concentration and involves avoiding distracting thoughts.
2. Immune System Booster
The immune system is responsible for maintaining good health and preventing infections, allergies, and cancers. Negative emotions like anxiety, depression or anger weaken the immune system and reduce its ability to fight infections. Laughter helps to increase the count of natural killer cells, a type of white cell.1 Researchers have found that laughter therapy increases antibodies (Immunoglobulin A), which is believed to have a protective capacity against some viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. Members of laughter clubs have noticed a reduction in common colds, sore throats, and chest infections.
3. Cardiac Health
Laughter is an effective method to control blood pressure by reducing the release of stress-related hormones and promoting relaxation. Experiments have demonstrated that a 10-minute laughter session leads to a reduction of 10-20 mm in blood pressure. Laughter may not completely cure patients who take 2-3 tablets for blood pressure every day. But, it can certainly reduce the dosage or eliminate the need for medication in borderline high blood pressure patients. Laughter may be the best preventive medicine for those who are at a high risk of developing heart disease, as it improves the blood circulation and oxygen supply to the heart muscles. An improvement in blood circulation results in reduced possibilities of clot formation.
4. Effective Exercise
The most notable benefit almost everybody derives from laughter is a sense of well-being. A 15-minute laughter session in the morning can keep you alert and fresh throughout the day. The reason for this is that you inhale more oxygen while laughing. Laughter is equivalent to any aerobic exercises, minus the sweating. According to some experts, a minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation and is suited for sedentary people and those who are confined to a bed or a wheelchair.2
5. Respiratory Ailments
Laughter is one of the best exercises for those suffering from asthma and bronchitis. It improves the lung capacity and increases oxygen levels in the blood. Doctors recommend chest physiotherapy to remove mucous from the respiratory tracts. Patients who are part of the laughter club have reported a notable decrease in the frequency of asthma attacks. Laughter therapy increases the antibody levels in the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages, which helps reduce the frequency of chest infections. Stress is another factor that can cause an asthma attack. By reducing stress, laughter can improve the prognosis of the disease.
6. Mental Health Conditions
The stress and strain caused due to the mechanical modern life adversely affect the mind and body. Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, nervous breakdowns, and insomnia are at an all-time high. Laughter has caused positive changes in many people who take anti-depressant pills and tranquillizers. Laughter has helped such patients achieve better sleep and helped them overcome depression. Even people with suicidal tendencies begin to see hope and learn to be happy.3
7. Natural Pain Killer
Laughter increases the levels of endorphins, which are our body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins released as a result of laughter may help in reducing the intensity of pain in people who suffer from arthritis, spondylitis and muscular spasms of the body. Many women have reported a reduced frequency of migraine headaches.4
8. Breath Control
Many people are shallow breathers and breathe deeply, which is how one must breathe. Laughing helps them take in more air and activate the lungs completely. Laughter therapy can immensely benefit singers and actors. It increases lung capacity and exercises the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, which result in better speech and vocal cord control. Singers will tell you how important breath control is. Moreover, even actors must know breath control for efficient dialogue delivery. Laughter also enhances self-confidence and helps overcome stage fear by relaxing the body.
9. Increase Stamina
Lung power is one of the factors that determines stamina in sports. People with low breathing power soon run out of steam. A good bout of laughter before commencing any competitive sports activity can increase the relaxation levels and performance. Laughter can be beneficial as an exercise in any kind of sports activity.
10. Exercise Facial Muscles
Exercise has been designed for all the muscles of the body. But for the facial muscles, no exercises exist except in Yoga. Laughter is an excellent exercise for facial muscles. It tones the muscles of the face and improves facial expressions. Laughter also increases blood supply to the face, which nourishes the facial skin and makes it glow. Laughing makes people look more cheerful and attractive. Laughter exercises the facial muscles and makes one appear young and healthy.
|↑1||Strean, William B. “Laughter prescription.” Canadian Family Physician 55, no. 10 (2009): 965-967.|
|↑2||Butler Barbara. Laughter: The Best Medicine. Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. University of Oregon.|
|↑3||Yazdani, Mohsen, Mojtaba Esmaeilzadeh, Saeid Pahlavanzadeh, and Firouz Khaledi. “The effect of laughter Yoga on general health among nursing students.” Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research 19, no. 1 (2014): 36-40.|
|↑4||Strean, William B. “Laughter prescription.” Canadian Family Physician 55, no. 10 (2009): 965-967.|