SAN DIEGO – It’s a Monday morning at the Live Well center in San Diego and a group of seniors are skipping, clapping and hooting in the recreation room.

That’s precisely what Dr. Caroline Meeks, aka “Dr. Funshine” ordered. As part of her holistic practice, Meeks, a physician and author, visits senior centers and hospitals aiming to treat chronic seriousness.

Her prescription: Frequent doses of “laughter yoga,” — an hour-long, mind-body exercise class that combines yogic breathing with simulated physical laughter and silly banter.

The exercises, combined with playfulness, singing, dancing and eye contact, usually induce authentic cackling, which Meeks and others believe is good medicine for everybody from cancer patients to people with dementia and depression.

“It’s hard to laugh and worry at the same time, or be angry or be profoundly sad, or in pain at that moment. Laughter makes you shift towards … feeling more connected, grateful, positive,” said Meeks.


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