advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Laughter Yoga: Need a Healthy Laugh?

Can you discuss laughter yoga? I've heard it might help in many ways, from stress relief to providing exercise. Is this the real thing or a put-on?

A
Answer (Published 10/24/2011)

Originally published October 24, 2011

Laughter yoga is the real thing. It's a means of getting people to experience laughter as a form of physical and mental exercise. Laughter yoga is the brainchild of Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from Mumbai, India, who has been traveling the world starting laughter clubs since 1995. At last count, there were more than 6,000 of them established in 60 countries.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Mood Support - A healthy outlook on life is a cornerstone of optimal health. The good news: proper diet, lifestyle, exercise and prudent supplemental nutrition can all help support an optimistic disposition. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation today.

The practical purpose behind laughter yoga is to laugh in a group, for no reason at all, after performing some physical movement and yogic breathing. Once you're drawn into this simulated laughter, it can rapidly become genuine, continue for 15 or 20 minutes, and leave you and everyone else in the group feeling great.

Dr. Kataria sees laughter yoga as an effective stress management technique, but research shows that laughter helps people in other ways, too. William Fry, M.D., clinical associate professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, studied laughter for years and found that it exercises the lungs and heart and raises endorphins, the body's feel-good hormones responsible for the "runner's high." More recently, British researchers have found that it is likely the physical act of laughing - the actual muscle contractions involved - that promotes endorphin release.

A number of other studies have shown that laughter can influence health by easing pain, lowering stress and even helping protect against heart disease. Researchers in Japan have shown that participating in laughter yoga can help lower blood pressure among adults ages 40 to 74 but haven't yet determined whether the positive changes are long-lasting. The investigators, from Osaka University, presented their findings at an American Heart Association 2011 scientific session.

A year earlier another Japanese research group found that watching comic movies had a beneficial effect on vascular function in a small group of healthy young adults. That study was published in the September 2010 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

For a full discussion of laughter as one of the natural remedies for depression and an integrative plan for optimum emotional well-being, watch for my new book, Spontaneous Happiness, to be published by Little, Brown & Co. in November of this year.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Learn more about Dr. Weil's new book and online program: Spontaneous Happiness

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here