There are various laughter therapies used across the world to treat various ailments. Some of the prominent few are listed below.
Laughter Therapy: The idea behind this therapy is a healthy and cheerful laugh that can make a person feel better, to relieve stress, combat diseases and strengthen the immune system. It is said that even one minute of laughter can give the body up to 45 minutes of therapeutic relaxation. It stimulates appetite and digestion and also expands the blood vessels and sends more blood racing to the extremities. This process sends more oxygen to every cell in the body, it also serves to speed tissue healing and stabilize many body functions. Laughter even produces a feeling of well being.
Laughter Yoga & Laughter Clubs: Somewhat similar to traditional yoga, laughter yoga is an exercise which incorporates breathing, yoga, stretching techniques along with laughter. The structured format includes several laughter exercises for a period of 30 to 45 minutes facilitated by a trained individual. It is practiced as a supplemental or preventative therapy. Laughter yoga can be performed in a group or a club. Therapeutic laughter clubs are extension of Laughter Yoga, but in a formalized club format. This form of laughter from the Laughter Clubs is about self generated laughing – not telling jokes or apparently about anything except laughing. Laughing till it hurts your belly, until tears are streaming down your face. We very often spot a large group of people standing in a circle and laughing hysterically in a park in your locality. Many people have formed such laughter clubs across the globe and practice this task of laughing religiously.
Laughter Meditation: In laughter meditation there are some similarities to usual meditation. However, it is the laughter that focuses the person to concentrate on the moment. There is a three stage process of stretching, laughing and or crying, and a period of meditative silence. In the first stage, the person places all energy into the stretching every muscle without laughter. In the second stage, the person starts with a gradual smile, and then slowly begins to purposely belly laugh or cry, whichever occurs. In the final stage, the person abruptly stops laughing or crying, then with their eyes now closed they breathe without a sound and focus their concentration on the moment. The process is approximately a 15 minute exercise. This may be awkward for some people as the laughter is not necessarily spontaneous. This is generally practiced on an individual basis.
Clown Therapy: Somebody once said, “A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.” In some hospitals “clown rounds” are made. The clowns perform various fun acts, share jokes etc that make the patients (usually children) laugh. For hospitalized children, clown therapy can increase patient cooperation and decrease parental & patient anxiety. In some children the need for sedation is reduced. Other benefits include pain reduction and the increased stimulation of immune function in children. This use of clown therapy is not limited hospitals. They can transform other places such as nursing homes, orphanages, refugee camps, war zones, and even prisons. The presence of clowns tends to have a positive effect. It was noted that 10 minutes of belly laughter can help the patients with two hours of pain-free sleep.
Humor Therapy: It is also known as therapeutic humor. Using humorous materials such as books, shows, movies, or stories to encourage spontaneous discussion of the patients own humorous experiences. This can be provided individually or in a group setting. The process is facilitated by clinician. There can be a disadvantage to humor therapy in a group format, as it can be difficult to provide materials that all participants find humorous. It is extremely important the clinician is sensitive to laugh “with” clients rather than “at” the clients.
Go ahead and laugh. Do it with pride, do it for your health!