Tag Archives: laughter sessions

Merv’s Blog, July 2012

Subjective Wellbeing is merely Personal Happiness

Our study with Deakin University is underway. A couple of things that have been very interesting is that they are measuring Subjective Wellbeing. Without wanting to show my ignorance, I looked up the dictionary to determine exactly what this means. Put simply, it said that subjective is “dependent on the mind or on an individual’s perception”, and wellbeing as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”. Combine the two and you get “personal happiness”. What a wonderful thing to measure, and for each of us to be aware of.

The Subjective Wellbeing Survey

The questionnaire is comprehensive and extensive. As is the way it will be measured. The headings of the survey are a) Personal wellbeing, b) How you generally feel, c) What you expect to happen d) Coping with problems, e) More about yourself, f) Over the past week, g) Support, h) Your job, and i) Risk taking.

A Plain Language Statement

The other document that came with the survey was a Plain Language Statement. This made me laugh because isn’t everything we write just that? Isn’t everything we say just that also? Well the answer is no. I reviewed some emails, blogs, articles, and columns that just made no sense at all. I’ve been more aware of conversations with friends and associates and become more confused with the more that is said. My point here is that laughter is real and in the moment. There is no complexity, confusion, diagnosis, or logic. It just is. It’s when we allow our mind and body to give into the process that is Laughter Yoga that the magic happens.

The Process

So what we have to do is take Laughter Yoga to three very different organizations. This will be done by conducting three to four laughter sessions per day, every day, for the month of July. By the time it’s complete there will have been more than 70 sessions conducted. My challenge will be to ensure that the numbers are maintained, and even increased over that period. People who conduct a weekly Laughter Club often find it challenging to keep things fresh. I wonder how I’ll do this over the 70 sessions in a month. Wish me luck ! (ha ha ha). In conjunction with this there are ten other Laughter Clubs involved here in Melbourne. Thank you to all of those leaders and attendees who are helping to make this historical event happen.

The outcome

The outcome of all of this work will be diagnosed, collated, and then distributed by the School of Psychology. We will publish the results on the Laughter Yoga Australia website for all to see as soon as they become available.

7th Australasian Conference in August

I also look forward to sharing some insights regarding this project at our upcoming Conference on the 24th to 26th August here in Melbourne. All of the information you to know need can be found at our website:
Hope to see you all there.

Read more about Merv Neal

Are there contra-indications to laughter?

In general

Yes. Laughter is contraindicated for people suffering from advanced (bleeding) piles and hemorrhoids or any bleeding tendencies in any part of the body, any acute symptoms of cough, any kind of hernia, cold and fever, epilepsy, heart disease with angina pain, incontinence of urine, persistent cough with breathlessness, severe backache, uncontrolled high blood pressure, within three months of a major surgery, and way too many other conditions to list here. If in doubt first ask your doctor if it’s OK for you to laugh.

No. Laughter is about breathing, and breathing is not a contraindication to life. Research carried out in December 2013 in a Kidney Dialysis Hospital unit in Melbourne, Australia, showed that a 30-minute Laughter Yoga session every two days for 30 days had no adverse effect on patients with extreme health conditions.

It depends. Are you using force or being gentle with yourself and respectful of your own limitations?

In particular

Laughter is universally well tolerated, but caution is advised in patients with certain concerning health conditions.

A literary review of 67 years of research on laughter published in the British Medical Journal in December 2013 reviewed what modern science knows about its beneficial and harmful effects. They found one case of death by laughter. She was 50, schizophrenic, and was referred for polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (she had a history of heart problems) after Ziprasidone therapy (an antipsychotic drug known to increase mortality in people with dementia-related psychosis). She had intense, sustained laughter one day after hearing a joke, collapsed and could not be revived. For the record, this is why pathological laughter can be dangerous. People with these symptoms just can’t control themselves and fall into excess, or distress.

More valid concerns were raised in that particular review against hearty and “intense side-splitting laughter” that can adversely impact certain people with pre-existing health conditions. The conclusion however was unavoidable and predictable: “The benefit-harm balance of laughter is probably favorable.”

The incidence of heart attack while shoveling snow, for persons with impaired heart function, is alarmingly high,” says Dr. William Fry, professor emeritus at Stanford University, a man who has studied the health aspects of laughter for decades. “But unexpectedly and against logic, the incidence of heart attacks suffered while laughing is surprisingly low.”
May I suggest you always take the safe approach and avoid extremes of any kind. Intense and forced laughter is neither helpful nor necessary. Beyond a certain point the body stops producing happy hormones and shifts into distress. It is like everything else. You can’t eat too much food even if it is healthy.

Before I suggest a comprehensive list of contraindicated conditions to laughter for those of you who are interested (I can summarize them all in seven words), first consider this: Life is deadly and statistics are formal. Five out of five people do die, eventually.

More seriously, laughing does increase intra-abdominal pressure and I have no doubt that quite a few of the 12,000+ dis-eases known today genuinely don’t do well at all with it, but listing them all would take far too much time. Whatever you would say will always be either too much or not enough, and focusing on what could harm people would be counter-productive in the context of what we are trying to achieve in laughter programs.

Here is how to make laughter safe and foolproof:

  • Follow your heart, but take your brain with you. If you have any kind of concerning medical condition don’t ask for trouble. Always get the advice of your doctor first before starting this or any other exercise regime. If you chose to ignore this advice, you are doing so at your own risk;
  • Enjoy everything you do. Respect your own limitations, and take it very easy. A smile is as good as a laugh if that is all that is available to you today;
  • No new pain! Avoid extremes. Stop immediately if anything becomes painful or uncomfortable, even to the slightest degree. When in doubt always ask a medical professional before engaging in laughter or any other kind of exercise regime. If you suffer from anythingcomplicated, advanced, acute, severe, unstable or uncontrolled, then you should get written permission from your doctor before doing anything, including laughing.
  • If you laugh more, drink more waterLaughing dehydrates. It may not be much, but considering that many people are chronically dehydrated, sometimes even a little can be too much. If you experience some heaviness in the head or mild to moderate headaches after laughter, that could be a warning sign. Always listen to your body. Be gentle next time…and drink more water!

Related link: Will I need public liability insurance to teach Laughter Yoga or Laughter Wellness?

Laughter and music could lower blood pressure just as much as cutting salt

Researchers at Osaka University in Japan assigned 79 people between the ages of 40 and 74 to one of three groups. Thirty-two were assigned to a music group where they listened to music and sang with music therapists. Thirty participants participated in laughter yoga, which combines breathing exercises with laughter stimulated through playful eye contact, plus watched a traditional Japanese comedy show called Rakugo. Each session took place for one hour twice a week for three months. The remaining 17 were controls who neither listened to music nor participated in the laughter sessions.

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Laughter Yoga on the phone celebrates its 4th anniversary on 12/04

What can we say? It is simply amazing.
4 years ago Gaga Barnes wanted to laugh daily with others, and the easiest way for her was to do it on the phone.
What started as a one woman idea has now grown to 12 daily 20 minutes laughter sessions.
It’s free and led by a network of volunteers. Anybody can all in (read more).

Join the 4th anniversary celebration at 9am PST (noon EST) on Saturday December 4th, 2011!
Call 712.432.3900
Follow the prompt and enter the pin 6071292#

Advanced osteoarthritis of the knee joints: Laughter Yoga has changed my life

By Neeta Fadia (Mumbai, India):  I have been suffering for the past 10 years from advanced osteoarthritis of the knee joints which has severely hampered my mobility. Even after my knee replacement surgery last year, I found it very hard to stand even for 15 minutes without pain.

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Boost for immune system: laughing has helped my ears to heal

By Jamna (India): I’ve been attending my local laughter club for the last two years. At that time I had blockages in my ears and was advised by my doctor to have surgery to clear them. I haven’t had surgery and today those blockages  have disappeared to a larger extent. I feel laughing daily has helped my ears to heal.

"Laughing daily has helped my ears to heal"

Jamna: "Laughing daily has helped my ears to heal"

Earlier I used to feel hesitation in laughing openly but now after regularly attending the laughter sessions, I  feel much better and can laugh freely.

I enjoy these sessions in the early morning. They make me feel fresh and energized throughout the day.

Source: www.laughteryoga.org