World laugh day: Laugh until the doctor doesn't come

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Laughter clubs are celebrating World Laughter Day next Sunday

Laughter clubs organize World Laughter Day on the first Sunday in May each year. In the course of the Laughter Yoga movement, in the late 1990s, the idea arose to explicitly devote a whole day to laughing. Since then every year on the first Sunday in May at 2 p.m. there has been a lot of laughter in around 6,000 laughing clubs around the world.

World Laughter Day not only focuses on the pure amusement of those involved, but also on the health benefits of laughing yoga. Because laughter is healthy. In Germany, the World Laughter Day is celebrated in around 150 laughing clubs. One of them is the laughing club "Glück-ist-Jetzt" in Frankfurt, where, under the guidance of Laurenz Menzinger, various exercises in laughing yoga can be learned.

Laughing for no apparent reason In order to laugh extensively, the laughter clubs do not require any special humor or good jokes, but often a simple gesture or movement is enough to encourage members to laugh heartily. Also in the laughing club "Happiness is now" the around ten members sometimes burst out laughing for no apparent reason. Laughter is often simulated when the exercises are started, but the laughter club members just keep going until the laughter is real. Laurenz Menzinger explained the motto of the laughing yoga with the sentence: "Fake it till you make it." Once a week after work, the personnel consultant leads the laughing yoga course in the laughing club "Happiness is now" in a small shop in downtown Frankfurt .

Laughter good for body and mind This is where the members of the Laughter Club and other interested parties meet to laugh heartily together. "A typical Laughter Yoga class is led by a trained Laughter Yoga leader who leads the group in various laughing, breathing and stretching exercises," reports the club on its website. Laurenz Menzinger has been a “Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher” for a year and teaches the laughable person once a week the breathing techniques and laughing exercises developed by the Indian doctor Madan Kataria, such as the laughing shower or the “Sorry-I'm-sorry” laugh. The advantages of laughing yoga are obvious to Menzinger. "Laughter stimulates the body and mind," said the laughing yoga trainer in a recent press release. In fact, different positive health effects of laughter can be medically proven. Because laughter even helps against pain.

Positive effects of laughter on the cardiovascular system The Swiss neurologist Professor Doktor Jürg Kesselring from the Valens Hospital explained to the news agency "dpa" that faster breathing makes laughing improve blood flow and strengthen the immune system. "If you laugh heartily and genuinely, more T cells are activated than usual, and that strengthens the immune system," explained Kesselring. "That makes laughing healthy," continued Kesselring. However, the therapeutic effect of laughter should not be overestimated, because "laughter can certainly promote self-healing processes in the body, it probably cannot cure diseases," emphasized the neurologist. Laughter is also believed to have a positive effect on the psyche, because those who “really laugh forget about everyday worries,” says Laurenz Menzinger.

Positive health effects after ten minutes of continuous laughter According to the laughing club “Glück-ist-Jetzt”, the laughing yoga class begins with “a few warm-up exercises and clapping hands and continues with various laughing exercises and a few breathing exercises.” Here everyone is encouraged to concentrate on the childlike Let in the game and laugh with your heart. Laughter yoga only has scientifically proven benefits if you laugh continuously for ten to 15 minutes, reports the Laughter Club. Therefore, natural laughter, which usually only lasts a few seconds, is not enough to fully exploit the positive biochemical processes of laughter in our body.

Campaigns to laugh on World Laughter Day The members of the Laughter Club "Happiness is now" want to use the World Laughter Day next Sunday to make as many passers-by laugh as possible on the Römerberg in Frankfurt. Of course there are "shakes of the head and incomprehension", because "Not everyone can get involved in the child's play with laughter", but the thousands of laughing clubs around the world show how many people simply enjoy laughing, explained laughter coach Laurenz Menzinger. The laugh club members don't care much about the skeptics' opinion. Criticism comes, for example, from the cultural scientist and laugh researcher Professor Rainer Stollmann from the University of Bremen, who told “dpa”: “There was primal scream therapy, then cuddle clubs and now there are laugh yoga clubs. But the moment that I find most important in laughing, namely humor, that is, tickling our own weak points, is missing in laughing yoga. ”Such critical accusations are simply laughed away in laughing clubs. As long as the participants feel a positive effect of the laughing yoga, the drive to laugh is ultimately only secondary. (fp)

Laughter helps against pain
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Image: Jörg Sabel /

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