If you happen to hear laughter coming through the doors of Columbia House, you may not be alone. And thanks to a program that staff have organized, it may prove to be a healthy dose of levity. Once a week, Louise Bianchi comes in from Banff and meets up with Wilmer resident Thomas Eastabrook and the two go first to Mount Nelson House and then Columbia House in Invermere for a good laugh.

By Dave Lazzarino – Invermere Valley Echo

They volunteer their time and lead a laughter yoga session, a series of breathing exercises and fun vocalization activities designed to improve breathing and circulation. But the roughly half-hour session provides more than just physical therapy. It adds a bit of silliness to the day.

Laughter therapies are becoming more widely used

Laughter therapies are becoming more widely used. According to Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a peer reviewed journal that publishes research into alternative medicines, “While therapies such as relaxation and exercise require significant time and commitment, and therapies such as herbs or massage can be expensive, use of humour can be easily implemented and cost effective.” It goes on to say that clinical benefits must still be documented before this therapy can be widely supported by the health care community.

Weekly Laughter Yoga sessions are of great benefit

In the meantime, the benefits of the weekly sessions are proving to be a great benefit to long-term care residents in Invermere.

“It makes people laugh and the endorphins get going,” said Terry Eacrett, one of the employees at Columbia House. “We’re so fortunate to have (Louise) come by every week.”

Read the full article