Laugh Therapy Clubs
The growing popularity of laugh or humor therapy isn’t anything to laugh at. Or is it? Physicians have long thought laughing lowers blood pressure, increases muscle flexion, boosts the immune function, relieves stress and improves circulation and digestion. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
There now seems to be scientific support building for the theory generally classified as a holistic therapy in the past. After all, it’s free and has no known adverse reactions. Many hospitals are now incorporating formal and informal laughter therapy programs, viewing it as a form of yoga.The yoga doctrine actually prescribes specific ways to laugh.
Additionally, there are laugh therapy clubs springing up across the world. So, laughter may indeed be the best medicine. Laughter is said to reduce hormones associated with stress response; i.e. epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, etc. Laughter also reduces hypertension and is apparently more effective with women than men.
Studies have shown emotions and moods, directly affect the immune system. A positive sense of humor can create neurochemical changes that buffer the immunosuppressive effects of diseases and stress. However, not all agree even though extensive research has been done on the correlation between laughter and health and its ability to help with a variety of diseases.
Robert R. Provine, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, says he's seen laughter’s ability to dull pain in countless studies.
Research over the last few decades has revealed new insights into emotional and physical benefits of laughter therapy. Here are some examples of what the medical community is discovering about laughter:
· Immune response: Antibiotics and immune cell levels are boosted.
· Blood circulation: Researchers at the University of Maryland conducted studies with drama and comedy TV shows and their affect on blood vessels. Test subjects viewing drama tended to have muscular and blood vessel tension restricting circulation. Those who viewed comedy had no such adverse reaction.
· Blood sugar levels: A study of diabetic patients watching comedy tended to have better blood sugar readings.
· Exercise: Laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts abdominal muscles and strengthens the heart. Additionally, a good guffaw also relaxes neck, shoulder and arm muscles.
· Weight loss: Those who laugh regularly are less apt to overeat, be stressed or suffer from boredom, depression and loneliness, conditions that trigger overeating.
Apparently, laughing has the same benefits as those derived from deep breathing. So those suffering from emphysema and other respiratory ailments may benefit from laughter therapy. In fact, recognizing laughter’s positive results on society inspired a World Laughter Day. It’s been celebrated annually on the first Sunday of May since 1998. The first World Laughter Day celebration took place in Mumbai, India with over 12,000 people participating in a mega laugh session. Today, the concept continues to spread across the globe and is rapidly being adopted by other countries.
If you are interested in joining a laugh club see if there is one near you at:http://www.laughteryoga.org/searchCentre.php. There is only one prerequisite, try not to die laughing.