Laughter Yoga or Hasya Yoga Health Benefits
Guru Dutta

June 13, 2020

What is Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga)?

 Laughter Yoga or Hasya Yoga

When it comes to relieving stress, laughter may be the best medicine. What about Laughter Yoga? Even as Laughter Yoga gains popularity around the world, there is confusion about what this practice is all about. Below are some facts about this little known and often misunderstood style of yoga. Laughing does you good. Laughter is a form of stress relief, which is a serious solution to many problems.

Watch: Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga) health benefits video

Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga) is based on the concept that laughter is good for your body and mind. Research suggests that laughter can improve your immune system, decrease stress, and improve blood flow. Another advantage of laughter as therapy is that it costs nothing, everyone can do it, and there are no side effects. It might help with pain, also. Some studies show that people are not as bothered by their pain when they laugh. Laughter yoga is a rather new concept in body-mind exercise. It combines simulated laughter exercises using gentle breathing methods to teach the body how to laugh without relying on humor or jokes.

See: Yoga to make you feel good all the time

Where did laughter yoga start?

Where did laughter yoga come from?

Laughter yoga was designed in 1995 by Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician practicing in Mumbai, India. Trying to find options to relieve stress from living in the over-crowded town, he decided to make a laughter club to try the theory that laughter is the best medicine. Dr. Kataria did so by gathering a group of individuals in a public park to tell jokes. The first week everybody enjoyed the comedy and laughed. Not long after that, the response changed radically. Dr. Kataria observed that people laughed when they saw others laughing. The laughter was contagious. Recognizing that he was on to something particular, Dr. Kataria created and perfected mimicked laughing methods and integrated breathing exercises to the routine. That's the way Laughter Yoga got started. The concept took hold and spread globally. Now there are over 8000 laughter yoga clubs in 65 nations.

See: Yoga for cancer patients side effects

Laughter yoga benefits

Laughter might have some excellent benefits for the body and mind. It is believed that laughter improves circulation, stimulates the immune system, exercises muscles, reduces stress hormones, and alleviates depression and anxiety. Laughter yoga is a simple way to incorporate laughter into your everyday life, and it requires no particular skill or athletic ability to practice. A typical session involves stretching, deep breathing, and laughter exercises that are designed to get you from your head and into your body.  In laughter yoga, you get down to using your own body to make laughter for no reason whatsoever, by doing exercises with a bunch of people typically called a laughter club. A great laugh can not cure all ailments, but the information is mounting about the positive things laughter can perform.

Short-term benefits: A great laugh has great short-term consequences. When you begin to laugh, it not only lightens your load emotionally but also induces physical changes in the body.  Laughter can:

- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your consumption of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins released by your brain.

- Activate and alleviate your stress reaction. A rollicking laugh can flame up and then cool down your anxiety response, heighten, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The outcome is an excellent, relaxed feeling.

- Soothe tension. Laughter may also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, each of which can lower some of the physical signs of stress.

Long-term effects: Laughter isn't only a fast pick-me-up, though. It's also great for you over the long run. Laughter may:

- Boost your immune system. Negative ideas manifest into chemical reactions, which could affect your body by bringing more stress in your system and diminishing your immunity. By comparison, positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help combat stress and potentially more-serious ailments.

- Boost your sense of humor: Are you afraid you've got an underdeveloped sense of humor? Humor could be learned. In actuality, developing or refining your sense of humor might be simpler than you think.

- Find stuff that makes you laugh. Find a few basic items, like photographs, greeting cards, or comic strips, that make you chuckle.  Proceed to a comedy club. Keep funny pictures, books, magazines, or humor videos available for when you will need an additional humor boost. Look online at joke sites. 

- Alleviate pain. Laughter can alleviate pain by causing the body to produce natural painkillers.

Increase private satisfaction. Laughter may also make it much easier to deal with stressful situations. Additionally, it can help you connect with other men and women.

- Boost your mood. Lots of individuals experience depression, sometimes as a result of chronic illnesses. Laughter helps reduce your depression and anxiety and might make you feel happier.

- Laugh and the world will laugh with you. Make fun of your conditions, and watch your stress start to fade away. Even if it seems forced in the beginning, practice laughing. 

- Share a laugh. Make time for friends and family who can make you laugh. Then return the favor by sharing funny jokes or stories with those around you.

- Makes you happy: Laughter yoga can make you happy and relaxed since the action stimulates the release of endorphins (the happy hormone). This cardio workout is excellent as the same begins as forced laughter, and afterward, it becomes a real one and is super infectious. According to research, 15 minutes of laughter daily will enhance your health drastically. People should think about performing Hasyayoga frequently as the frequency of laughter keeps decreasing as we grow.



See: Yoga for Diabetes Type 2

Studies in laughter yoga

Laughter Yoga can be carried out by anyone. Individuals of all ages, cognitive and fitness levels can participate. On top of that, one doesn't need to be happy, have a sense of humor, or be in a fantastic mood to participate and gain benefits. There's no unique clothing or equipment needed. All that's required is a space for the group to gather at. It is fun, easy to learn, and the positive effects can be felt immediately.

- Clinical findings support claims that laughter, real or not, has positive physical, physiological, and emotional outcomes. Laughter is connected with enhanced heart rate and immune system function, lowered blood pressure, decreased stress hormone production, greater salivary flow, and increased pain tolerance. Whether people are feeling happy, the body reacts positively to the laughing effect, which can then cause real relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.

- Laughter has been researched in the US since 1979. Laughter has since been prescribed by professionals in geriatrics, oncology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, rheumatology, general patient care, and other therapeutic fields.

- Laughter's stress-reducing effects are where most benefits attest. With time, the cumulative negative impact of routine stresses pile up and split down bodies. The US National Institute of Mental Health states that routine stress may create serious problems such as diabetes, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorder.

- In Japan, healthy older individuals have shown significantly increased bone mineral density and enhanced moods following once-weekly therapeutic laughter exercise sessions of 30-minutes for three months. Iranian doctors who analyzed the impact of laughter treatment on older subjects also have concluded that it improved overall wellbeing. And a study on US cancer patients has linked triggered laughter to increased Natural Killer (NK) cell activity. These cells are instrumental in combating disease, and that same increase was seen in NK cell activity when laughter was triggered in healthy patients.

- In 2015, a Belgian nurse called Isabel Fernandez instituted a therapeutic comedy clinic in the cardiac and orthopedic rehabilitation sections of CHU Brugmann Hospital in Brussels. Hospital researchers found that laughter helped physical healing and overall wellbeing, reducing stress in caregivers and patients, and her practice was quickly extended to the neurology and psychology practices.

- Studies show no adverse side effects from entertainment, but medication is best left to health professionals. So speak with your doctor about laughter and if it is ideal for you.

See: Yoga for heart disease prevention

Summary

Hasya yoga promotes laughter as a complementary treatment for chronic pain and other medical problems. Start looking for a local practitioner and give it a go.

See: Yoga for sleep disorders

References

1. Arthritis Today: “Laugh Away Your Pain with Laughter Yoga.”

2. Laughter Yoga International.

3. Strean, W. Canadian Family Physician, October 2009.

4. Gervais, M. and Wilson, D. Quarterly Review of Biology, December 2005.

5. Rosner, F. Cancer Investigation, 2002.

6. Hayashi, K. Diabetes Care, May 2003.

7. Panksepp, J. Psychological Science, December 2000.

See: Yoga for immunity & immune system

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