This Yoga is Laughable

by DavalosMcCormack on September 1, 2010

One of the hottest concepts in health in recent years has been the idea of ‘mind-body’ medicine. Usually it refers to the ability of the brain to influence the health of the body, tapping into the power of thoughts and emotions to influence our physical health. For instance studies have shown that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce the severity of irritable bowel syndrome, even lower the risk of cancer.

But there’s also an increasing body (pun intended) of evidence that shows that the mind-body connection can also work the other way, body-mind, that the physical activities of the body can influence how the brain feels and how healthy both the brain and the body is.

One of the more unusual, and fun, methods of body-mind medicine is laughter yoga where the simple act of pretending to laugh can boost the health of both the body and the brain. When you practice laughter yoga you mimic the physical act of laughing. It sounds silly I know, but practitioners say by pretending to laugh you often end up laughing long and hard, and even if you don’t the sheer physical act of ‘laughing’ has powerful physical, emotional and mental health benefits.

They say laughter boosts the immune system, which helps you fight disease, it also reduces how much cortisol is circulating through your body (cortisol is the so-called ‘fight or flight hormone produced when you are severely stressed such as being attacked by a pterodactyl – which doesn’t happen too often these days – or watching a Glenn Beck rant, which happens far too often for anyone’s health) and that in turn can reduce how much stress your body is subjected to on a daily basis.

What a cool idea eh! Just by laughing you are doing something good for your body, and your brain, because laughter yoga also helps reduce the likelihood of depression. It’s almost as if this idea is flipping science on its head and instead of thinking that we have to get the brain healthy for us to have a healthy body, we are going the opposite direction, saying to have a healthy brain we first need to get our body into healthy mode.

Think about it. Instead of going through years of talk therapy, psychotherapy, counseling and/or medication – or all of them – you could achieve the same by just laughing every day.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to seeĀ  your family doctor and at the end of the exam have them say ‘take two jokes and call me in the morning”. We might actually look forward to going to the doctor. Better still, we might not have to go at all.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Olympia Holliday September 2, 2010 at 5:35 am

We were first exposed to Laughter Yoga in May 2010. We were resistant and did not want to participate because it sound so….well….silly. We ended up going to a laughter event and the results of laughing for 15 minutes straight were AMAZING and undeniable. My husband and I decided to start laughing together regularly (every morning) and it has changed our lives. We get along better, we have more energy, we’re making better choices, we’re more confident in what we do, we’re happier, we resolve conflict more quickly and easily…the list goes on. Thanks for sharing this! It’s true; laughter really is the best medicine!


Davalos/McCormack September 3, 2010 at 7:26 am

Thank you Olympia! That explains alot about Mr. McCormack! Friday’s 8/3/10 Healthy and Simple is an example of his ability to make me laugh!


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