There are no tricky poses or balancing acts – instead, Laughter Yoga, developed in India in 1995, elicits giggles, guffaws and belly laughs through a combination of deep breathing and exercises that train the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
Experts say that laughter sparks physiological and biochemical changes that can have a profound effect on the development of diseases like cancer. When patients are too overwhelmed with reality to get a laugh from intellectual stimuli like humorous videos, laughter yoga can generate a physical response – laughter that helps reduce stress and fear, counter depression, promote a positive outlook, generate pain-fighting endorphins, strengthen the immune system and infuse oxygen into the body.
When the new Cancer Center opens this Spring, look for Laughter Yoga every Wednesday on the calendar of activities for patients and their loved ones.
This article first appeared in the April 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.