Today is World Laughter Day 2012: Laughter yoga without a doctor

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Laughter strengthens health and the immune system

Today is the world laugh day! Have you laughed yet? Laughter is healthy and raises the mood. There are around 150 laughing clubs in Germany. The members of the yoga laughing clubs meet regularly to have an organized laugh. Because regular laughter is not only fun, but also demonstrably lowers the risk of illness.

The level of laughing yoga is not particularly humorous. For outsiders, the sight of the laughing hour may even seem a bit strange. The participants of the Frankfurt laughing club "Happiness is now" giggle, pluck or laugh out loud. However, a joke or a humorous story is not the trigger for the roaring laughter. "Simulate until it works," is the motto of yoga teacher Laurenz Menzinger.

After working for the Lachverein In real life, Menziger is a personnel consultant. Once a week after work, he leads the yoga salmon lesson in a small shop in Frankfurt. More than a year ago, Menziner successfully received the title "Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher". He learned the method of an Indian doctor in a Swiss training center. The seminars covered the teaching of breathing techniques, stretching and laughing exercises. Special exercises are, for example, the "laughing shower" or the "sorry-sorry-sorry-laugh". Body and mind are revitalized by laughter. "If you really laugh, you forget everyday worries." Laughter yoga is also a workout to strengthen the heart.

Laughter promotes health "Hearty laughter promotes health", not only the laughing clubs report. For example, researchers from Oxford University found in a study that laughing makes a significant contribution to reducing pain. According to this, laughing clearly increases the stimulus threshold compared to physical pain and those who actively laugh can not only prevent pain, but also alleviate it. Another study indicated that laughing helps with anorexia.

Laughter strengthens the heart and activates the immune system. Doctors also confirm the positive properties of laughter. "Laughter activates the whole cardiovascular system," reports neurologist Prof. Dr. Jürg Kesselring from the Valens Clinic, Switzerland. "The faster breathing improves blood flow, and that makes laughing healthy," says the expert. According to Prof. Jürg Kesselring, laughing can also strengthen the body's defenses. Whoever laughs heartily and really laughs, activates more T cells than usual. "And that strengthens the immune system," says Kesselring. However, the neurologist doubts whether laughter can actually cure diseases. The therapeutic benefits of laughing should not be overestimated. But Kesselring also emphasized: "Laughter can certainly promote self-healing processes in the body."

Laughing is contagious In the Peiner and Frankfurt laughing clubs, such assessments are of secondary importance. On today's World Laughter Day, the members want to encourage walkers and passers-by to laugh in central places. Many react with "shaking their heads and lack of understanding", says Menzinger, because not everyone can get involved in "the child's play with laughter." But the laughing community is getting bigger. Thousands of laughing clubs around the world testify that many people simply enjoy laughing, emphasized the laughing yoga teacher. The members of other laughing clubs also want to use flyers to draw attention to World Laughter Day and their own offer. All fellow human beings are encouraged to laugh, according to the motto: "Laughter is contagious, even those who actually have reservations".

The cultural scientist and laugh researcher Prof. Rainer Stollmann from the University of Bremen does not think much of laughter that is organized jointly. In the past there was the so-called scream treatment, then the cuddling together. "And now there are laughing yoga clubs," emphasized the laughing scientist. But the moment "that I find most important when laughing, namely humor, that is, tickling our own weaknesses, is missing in laughing yoga," Stollmann continues shared salmon lessons and are convinced of the positive health effects. (sb)

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Image: Rolf van Melis /

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Video: WORLD LAUGHTER DAY - Laguna Beach Laughter Club, CA May 2, 2010 filmed by Ross Costa

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