“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”, says Victor Borge. According to many doctors, healthcare professionals and patients, laughter bridges the gap between two souls. It is known to be the cure to several ailments and diseases and some scientists also believe that laughter triggers endorphins in the body that are known to make you happy and also reduce pain. Several international celebrities, such as Robin Williams, have opened laughter therapy institutes in the West and even in India, the concept of laughter clubs is gaining popularity. In a typical laughter club session, a bunch of people gather in a circle in a park and laugh together. What starts off as forced laughter turns into a full-fledged laughter and heals the mind and body of all stress and tension. Such is the power of laughter that the UK government has gone ahead and hired comedians to cure the sick and elderly in hospitals and old age homes. It is as they say, “faith in anything has positive results”. Run through the following and have faith! Preventive and therapeutic laughter is sure to sweep you off your feet!
Benefits Of Laughter
Laughter And Cancer
The battle is half won for a cancer patient if he chooses to fight back, without giving into the disease. Laughter is said to strengthen the immune system and this is crucial in the prognosis of cancer. It is said that, laughter increases the number of white blood cells — disease fighting cells — that destroy the rapidly growing cancer cells.
Laughter And Stress Hormones
Research proves that reducing the levels of stress hormones can be effectively dealt with by laughter therapy. Stress causes the blood vessels to contract and immune activity to decrease. Epinephrine or adrenaline — associated with increasing the heart rate — is decreased and thus, the individual feels calmer and more relaxed. Dopamine or the ‘fight hormone’ that is known to be linked with high blood pressure is also reduced by the famous ‘laughter’!
Laughter And Yoga
Several people either can’t find time or lack the stamina for exercise owing to various medical conditions. Such people can resort to yoga. Yoga is known to help people with any sort of disorder because it works equally on all parts of the body and mind. Now, if you have a problem where you cannot move any part of your body (paralysis and bedridden) then you can resort to laughter yoga. Just about 10min of laughing yoga is equivalent to a 30min cardio workout in the gym!
Laughter And Oxygen
The most vital element that your brain or any part of your body can’t do without, is oxygen. Oxygen is required for cells to live and most people fall sick because of lack of exercise creating a general oxygen deficiency in the cells. This adversely affects the body and the mind. Laughter therapy is known to combine breathing techniques with the use of physical energy and this is said to provide oxygen to the cells. It cures various illnesses such as respiratory diseases like bronchitis.
Laughter And Muscles
While you’re laughing you must laugh whole heartedly! Laughing from your belly and not from your throat or chest will do you good. This is effective in relaxing your tightened muscles and you consequently feel more relieved too.
Laughter And Chronic Illnesses
Several people above a certain age (around 50) are more prone to chronic illnesses than people of other age groups. Laughter yoga or laughter therapy is known to decrease the onset or progress of a lot of diseases ranging from arthritis, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or any sort of chronic ache/pain.
Laughter may not be a full and final cure to all these troubles but it does build a positive attitude and gives you the energy to move forward. So laugh off to move on!