Laughter Yoga: The Latest In Stress Reduction
Written by: Janet Early
Have you heard of Laughter Yoga?
First developed in the mid-1990s, this stress-reduction technique has already traveled through 100 countries, making folks laugh all around the world.
Laughter Yoga involves deep breathing, light stretching and laughing exercises that are believed to recreate the healthy effects of genuine laughter. When you laugh, the benefits are comparable to those you experience from an aerobic workout, including decreased cortisol levels, release of mood-boosting endorphins and lowered blood pressure.
How It Works: The Logic Behind The Craze
The healthy goals behind Laughter Yoga are founded on the theory that the body can’t tell the difference between real and forced laughter. Therefore, the same psychological and physiological benefits will occur in either situation. These include:
- 6% reduction in blood pressure
- 28% reduction in cortisol and epinephrine (the “stress hormones”)
- Release of endorphins, causing good mood and opening the door to natural laughter
- Reduction in muscle tension
- Oxygenation of your body and brain due to the deep breathing and laughter exercises, which have energizing as well as relaxing effects
- Boosted immune system due to the reduction in stress
- Improved social interaction and spread of positive energy
- More optimistic mental state
- Growth of the skill to maintain a positive outlook even during difficult times
Does It Work?
A study by the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry examined the impact of Laughter Yoga on a group of clinically depressed elderly women and found that the practice significantly increased life satisfaction and decreased depression. However, the benefits were found to be on par with those of people participating in exercise therapy groups. This suggests that what depressed patients truly benefit from is the increased social interaction or increased activity.
Whatever the reasoning may truly be, the advantages of Laughter Yoga are well-founded. Among participant groups, the pretend laughter frequently blossoms into genuine laughter. And the act of laughing leads to a more a joyous state of mind, as well as tangible benefits to your physical health.
Where Does Laughter Yoga Happen?
Laughter Yoga is a growingly popular class in select fitness centers, senior centers and yoga studios. Companies also employ this exercise with employees and clients to improve the work atmosphere as well as the health and wellness of those in it. Places called “social laughter clubs” are popping up all over the place.
How Can You Find Out More?
If you are interested in attending a Laughter Yoga session, you can search here to locate a class in your area. To get a better idea of what it’s all about, check out this Youtube video or this Ted Talk.
In a world where it seems like there’s so much hardship for no reason, why can’t there also be laughter for no reason?
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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