Never underestimate the power of a good laugh. We’ve heard this many times, yet the older we get, the harder it seems to be to laugh heartily, especially without prompting by a good joke or comedy routine. We seek opportunities to laugh at or about something, rather than creating them. Despite this habit, however, research shows that laughter enhances circulation, lowers blood pressure, boosts immune function, and reduces stress hormones. These benefits alone should have us laughing all the way to the bank from the doctor’s office, infecting everyone we pass with this natural therapy!
So how can you infuse more laughter into your daily life? In cities throughout the world and communities across the country—all the way to Bethany Village, a continuing care retirement community in Centerville, OH—people have discovered the joy and camaraderie of laughter clubs. Laughter clubs exist because of Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria, who developed the concept in order to bring the benefits of laughter to his patients.
Rather than rely on humorous stimuli to make people chuckle, laughter clubs depend on the members’ own abilities to simulate laughter, through guided “laughs” and the contagious response to others in the process. The body identifies the imitated laughter and triggers the same healthy responses—emotionally and physiologically—as with real laughter. Therefore, in addition to the socializing aspect of laughing with a group of people, participants also experience wellness benefits, including a diaphragm and abdominal workout, an increase in blood flow, an increase in muscle flexion, and a release of endorphins. Wow! Fellowship and an aerobics workout—what’s not to laugh about?
Whether you are a son or daughter caring for aging parents or you live in a senior living community, laughter could be the best medicine for what ails you. Have you had a good laugh today?
Are you aware of any laughter clubs in your area? Would you like to join a laughter club?