Brad Lamm, CIP
Everyone knows that laughing makes you feel good. But can laughing actually strengthen the body’s immune system and combat disease? According to Indian physician Madan Kataria, laughing is the best medicine for a healthy body.
In 1995, Dr. Kataria read a book called Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins, extolling the benefits of humor in healing the body. He was thusly inspired to create a new form of yogic exercises he calls Laughing Yoga. According to him, a disease has 2 components: organic cause due to pathological impairment in the body and the subsequent psychological reaction to it. One cannot underestimate the effects that stress, fear, and other negative emotions have on the body’s ability to heal. Laughing creates ‘a joy cocktail,’ which releases endorphins, a chemical known to relieve pain.
So what is laughing yoga exactly? A typical session begins with clapping and warming up, deep breathing and 3 kinds of laughter exercises, starting with simulating laughter in a slow and gradual manner. Eventually, this gradient laughter stimulates the diaphragm and genuine laughter breaks out. Participants are guided to sustain the laughter by utilizing playful exercises such as one-meter laughter, milkshake laughter, mobile phone laughter, and hot-soup laughter. These techniques are designed to open the subconscious mind, increase blood circulation and relax the muscles.
Over the last 20 years, Dr. Kataria has witnessed participants get relief from respiratory complications, insomnia, migraines, allergies, and ulcers to name a few. He firmly believes ‘whatever happens to the body happens to the mind.’
Laughing therapy can not only cure what ails you but can lead you to the path of a more joyful life.