Today I am sitting in the beautiful Burrows Lea Country House – the home of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary in Shere, Surrey in the UK. I have just held a Laughter Yoga session here for their retreat day with a fellow Laughter Yogi friend of mine. I thought this would be a great time to talk about the positive effects of laughter when you are healing. There are so many benefits of laughter and there is always research going on internationally to prove that laughter really is the best medicine.
As I mentioned in my last article, I have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which often changes to Chronic Kidney Disease resulting in kidney failure, sending the body into renal failure. This causes the body to shut down completely and is really painful.
It is one of the common causes of patients ending up loosing a kidney and going onto a dialysis machine. This is not a pleasant procedure.
Laughter Yoga research
Some amazing research has been done in Sacramento. Satellite Healthcare started a new facility and they are using Laughter Yoga to help treat dialysis patients. Patients are not as happy as the general population due to the illness. Their quality of life, capability to be active, their energy levels, functioning, even just doing exercise is impaired most of the time.
Data shows that with Laughter Yoga, these things improve. Patients are actually able to move easier and actually getting out of their chairs. People’s quality of life, mood and happiness index is improved. This is an innovative way to bring a holistic therapy to dialysis treatments.
The physical benefits of Laughter Yoga
Laughter Yoga opens the lungs, increases physical activity, and promotes trust between patients and staff, and helps the patients relax.
The reason that you can change your mood through laughter is because by engaging the diaphragm by increasing deep breathing you immediately engage the parasympathetic nervous system, producing your ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin). These signal to the stress hormones to ‘cool it’ and so your heart rate slows down, your blood pressure drops and you have an overall feeling of happiness.
Laughter Yoga and other illness treatments
Laughter Yoga has also been used for other illness treatments like with cancer patients. Its amazing how changing your mood and being more positive can help you feel faster. And then laughter is also a natural painkiller so it makes these invasive treatments more tolerable.
Laughter is a great way of oxygenating the cells of your body and it is a scientific fact that no disease can grow in fully oxygenated cells. And at the same time you are improving the immune system by increasing your blood flow which assists the lymphatic vessels carrying this fluid through your body and helps your lymph nodes to clean and filter this fluid, removing waste products, dead cells, and even unwanted microorganisms.
I also love the way loving and accepting your body can help you heal. By sending those loving thoughts to all the areas of your body that may not be performing well, will do wonders for you. I have also experienced this in a group where we give ‘love/laugh taps’ to people who are going through a rough time. This really bonds you and sends out a wonderful feeling of love.
Here are some quotes from famous doctors:
· “The best clinicians understand that there is an intrinsic physiological intervention brought about by positive emotions such as mirthful laughter, optimism and hope.” – Lee Berk, DrPH, Assoc Res Pro Loma Linda School of Medicine
· “For the most part, when you go and get medical treatment, a clinician is not necessarily going to tell you to take two aspirins and watch Laurel and Hardy, but the reality is that’s where we are and it’s more real than ever. There’s a real science to this. And it’s as real as taking a drug.” – Lee Berk, DrPH, Assoc Res Pro Loma Linda School of Medicine
· “Daily opportunities for laughter are important for patients with diabetes” – Keiko Hayashi, RN, PhD
· “Believe it or not, having a really hearty chuckle can help too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body.” – Dr. Andrea Nelson, University of Leeds School of Healthcare
Remember Laughter IS the best medicine.
About the author: To find out more about Jo-Dee Walmsley, please click here.