Laugh Your Way To Good Health
“Laughter Yoga is a worldwide movement that promotes health and peace through laughter”
Laughter helps to oxygenate the body by extending the exhalation and removing the residual air from the lungs, hence triggering a cheerful mood. Laughter also has a cathartic effect on the body, releasing pent up emotions.
What Is Laughter Yoga?
Laughter yoga is a technique whereby laughter is used as therapy and combined with deep yogic breathing that acts as an antidote for stress and boosts immunity. It has been scientifically proven that laughter yoga improves stress levels and helps us to cope with daily life as well as improves relationships, business and overall wellness. What begins as simulated laughter soon turns into real, contagious laughter, which lifts your spirits and mood. The basic premise being, ‘fake it till you make it,’ since the body cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter.
According to renowned Laughter Yoga Therapist, Robert Rivest, “One of the most joyful sounds humans make is laughter. Laughter links us, connects us and heals us. Laughter reaches beyond perceived barriers of age, race, gender, culture and language. We laugh in the same way around the world. Laughter Yoga is a worldwide movement that promotes health and peace through laughter.”
Laughter And Happiness
There is wide acceptance of laughter therapy even from the medical fraternity. When you laugh, endorphins are released, making you feel better and even contributing to a positive shift in perspective. Bonds are also made stronger by laughing together and act as a buffer against disappointments and stress. By being more spontaneous and incorporating laughter into your life, you can be happier.
We have begun to take ourselves too seriously, dramatizing our lives, exaggerating problems, being trigger-happy; this in the long-term is detrimental to our emotional well-being. But by practising laughter yoga for ten minutes daily, you can witness a sea of change in your attitude and perspective.
Techniques Of Laughter Yoga
Body Scan Laughter
As you begin to laugh, let the laughter pervade through every part of your body, starting from the top of your head, eyes, and nose, cheeks through your neck and shoulders, arms, midriff, gut, down to your hips, legs and little toes. Let it burst through every muscle and cell in your body.
Breath Holding Technique
Take a deep breath, raising your arms over your head; continue to hold your breath while extending your spine backwards. When you can almost not hold your breath any longer, burst into laughter. Practicing this overtime will create it into a reflex, where the brain learns a new connection of associating breathing, stretching and holding the breath with laughter. Keep these few key points in mind while practicing the above.
- Raise your arms above your head – this posture creates a happy body-mind link. It is a universal portrayal of a happy disposition.
- Hence practicing this releases the endorphins and assists in the laughter therapy. It also helps to keep the chin up, which straightens the midriff, hence creating space in the respiratory track.
- To clear out the residual air, it is good to keep laughing till you are out of breath. By breathing deeply, the oxygen flow into the system Increases, helping in the overall well-being and perkiness of the mood.
Laughter The Best Medicine For High BP
There is an alarming increase in the prevalence of hypertension worldwide with elevated recordings being detected even in school children. Hypertension alone or in association with other co-morbid factors leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease including myocardial infarction and heart failure, cerebrovascular illness like strokes, renal disorders like chronic renal failure and retinal problems. Hypertension or elevated blood pressure (BP) clinically refers to a systolic BP of more than or equal to 140 mm of Hg and/or a diastolic BP of more than or equal to 90 mm of Hg.
Reduced Blood Pressure And Laughter
When hypertension is initially diagnosed, clinicians initiate and reinforce a series of lifestyle modifications including dietary interventions, regular physical activity and stress modularity therapies. However, one major stress buster is simple laughter and there is growing evidence that laughter can indeed lead to a reduction in BR What does laughter actually do? Laughter involves both a physical and an emotional response.
A good laugh stretches the muscles around the face, mouth, head, neck and chest and these muscles relax. The initial response to a laugh ¡s a transient rise in the systolic BP with a subsequent significant sustained fall in the BP due to a relaxation of the blood vessels.
Cortisol, a stress hormone released during periods of anxiety or stress leads to narrowing of the blood vessels causing elevated BR Laughter reduces the stress hormone levels leading to attenuation of its effects on BR Laughter also boosts the productions of endorphins, the feel good chemical synthesized naturally in our bodies. This in turn reduces stress and helps control blood pressure.
Laughter also increases the oxygenation of the body by improving the chest excursion movements and helps with deep breathing techniques. Most of these beneficial effects of laughter involve a good hearty session of laughter, not a soft chuckle or a giggle.
Laughter: The Best Medicine
Quite a few studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of laugher on blood pressure. An Indian study and a Japanese study have both found a definite link with a sustained reduction in BP and laughter. With laughter clubs mushrooming everywhere, even in smaller cities, we are definitely on the right path to control stress levels and bring a positive change in blood pressure. And as the age-old saying goes, laughter after all, may really be the best medicine. So get going with family and friends for a healthy hearty 15-20 minutes laughter therapy session to laugh your way to health.