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Laughter the Best Medicine? West Ryde Library Thursday May 28th 2009 6pm
Usuff Omar Hong Kong 2002 joined Laughter Clubs (Will explain what it is!) 2004 Laughter Leader NSW 2005 Laughter Yoga (LY) leader 2008 LY teacher (do it for myself, really) Led at 5 clubs in Sydney : Hornsby, Newtown, Frenchs Forest, North Sydney, Glebe LCs (Simply turn up, pay money, participate and get the certificate! No test involved!) Real qualification – enjoy laughing!!! DADH, Disabilities groups, carers groups, Mental Health Unit of Liverpool Hospital, Cumberland Hospital, councils, YWCA etc - getting paid to laugh over past year. firstname.lastname@example.org 0400804354
Is Laughter the Best Medicine?
To answer the question : is laughter the best medicine... who better to ask than Professor Robert Provine? University of Maryland Neuroscientist Wrote “Laughter – a Scientific Investigation” (2000)
Is Dr Provine on the conservative side? In recent decades, much scientific evidence has emerged to prove there are definite health benefits (both physical and psychological) associated with laughter
Health Benefits of Laughter An incomplete list Physical 1. Lowers blood pressure 2. Lowers blood glucose levels 3. Improves heart health 4. Boosts the immune system 5. Increases fertility!! Psychological 6. Increases altruism 7. Increases optimism, hope 8. A stress buster!
1. Laughter Lowers Blood Pressure BPi • Report at American Society of Hypertension Conference May 2008, New Orleans, LA • Significant reduction in BP in LY group over control group • Systolic BP i • Diastolic BP i • Cortisol levels i • Source : http://www.abstracts2view.com/ash/
2. Laughter Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels GLUCOSE (BSL)i DIABETES MANAGEMENT h HELPS LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS (BSL) JAPANESE STUDYWATCHED BORING LECTURE, THEN COMEDY RESULT - LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL AFTER THE COMEDY Newtown Laughter Club – 2004 – one participant said he needed less insulin when he was laughing. Heard indirectly. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20030528-000003.html Go to www.pubmed.org and search for “laughter diabetes”. Will find ten papers suggesting a role for laughter for diabetes
3. Laughter May Help Prevent Heart Disease Dr Michael Miller, University of Maryland Dr Michael Miller, University of Maryland http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1024713.stm
4. Laughter Helps Immune System Dr Lee Berk, University of California, Irvine Immune system h Stress hormones i Endorphins h
5. Laughter Improves Fertility Laughter can make you pregnant! Israeli fertility researchers found almost doubling of conceptions from IVF treatment if ladies were entertained by clowns after treatment. Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5099188.stm
6. Laughter Increases Altruism Altruism h Laughter increases altruism - unselfish concern for the welfare of others A new study from psychologists at the universities of Kent and Liverpool has revealed that laughter increases altruism towards strangers, a finding which may have important implications for charities and other fundraising bodies. http://www.news-medical.net/?id=22556 MARCH 12 2007
7. Laughter Increases Hope Optimism h Humor Can Increase Hope, Research Shows ScienceDaily (Apr. 13, 2005) — COLLEGE STATION, Apr. 11, 2005 – Laughter might be the best medicine for transforming the faintest of glimmers of hope into an eternal spring, reveals research at Texas A&M University that shows humor may significantly increase a person's level of hope. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050413091232.htm APRIL 13 2005
8. Laughter is a Great Stress Buster Who says? The NSW Government!!
Laughter Lots Other Benefits Not Mentioned www.alzheimers.org.au/upload/ClownDoctors.pdf Anti stress Strengthens the Immune System Best Aerobic Exercise Depression, Anxiety and Psychosomatic Disorders High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease Natural Pain Killer Alleviates Bronchitis and Asthma Improves Stamina Internal Jogging Good for Communicators Makes You Look Younger www.laughteryoga.org Best Cardio Workout Fitness/ Slimming Regulates Breathing Allergy and Asthma Arthritis Anger Management Massages internal organs Sleep better Better relationships Improved social confidence
A Brief History of Laughter • Proverbs 17:22King James Bible“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: • but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” • Dr James J Walsh “Laughter and Health” 1928 – anyone got a copy? • Norman Cousins – “Anatomy of an Illness” 1979 Book + Film Sparked scientific interest in laughter as therapy. • A writer who became Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities at School of Medicine, UCLA. • Dr Annette Goodheart – important body of work on laughter. • Included therapeutic crying, as well as laughter. • Work bypassed? • Dr Madan Kataria – kicked of international phenomenon of “Laughter Clubs” in 1995. Followed up with “Laughter Yoga”.
1995 – Birth of “Laughter Clubs” in India • Dr Madan Kataria, Mumbai, India • March 13 1995 – Idea occurred to him to • start a “laughter club” • Went to Lockhandwala park, asked strangers! • Idea took hold in India, clubs multiply. • Late 1990s – came to attention of world press • Visitors from West to India bring the idea home • Dr Kataria travels overseas to spread the word • Now ~10,000 clubs in 62 countries • incl Mongolia, New Caledonia, Zimbabwe
LAUGHTER CLUB DEMONSTRATION
After the laughter session How did it go?????? or
Laughter Club Demo Discussion • Laugh for “no reason” • Jokes? None or few • Humour? Little used • Comedy? No need for a comedian to get us to laugh • Slapstick? (physical humor) Little involved • Laughed at anyone’s expense? No! Unlike comedians who ask • “what do you do for a living?” • Despite answering no to all the above, we all laughed!! • (Laughter even stronger??) • We need each other to laugh • in a safe environment • Consensually agree to laugh • Neurological response (sometimes involuntary!) • Laughter contagious (another way of saying it)
Laughter Causes and Effects – Works Two Ways HAPPYgLAUGHh That’s true. What is also true is :- LAUGHg HAPPYh Ie. WE LAUGH TO BECOME HAPPIER -------------------- SENSE OF HUMOURgLAUGHh That’s true. What is also true is :- LAUGH g SENSE OF HUMOUR h Ie LAUGHTER INCREASES OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR
How Do We Get Laughter to Work For Us Therapeutically? • To create a noticeable shift within weeks : • 30 min laughter session x 2 per week • Natural laughter best, less progress if artificial • Test:: is it enjoyable? Feel the lift after? • Analogy to Exercise - Do Regularly • Benefits fade if stop doing it (but never totally disappear)
Where are the Laughter Clubs in Sydney? • Easily answered before with Laughter Clubs of NSW Inc • which coordinated and supported all laughter clubs in Sydney. • Folded 2007. Now no coordinating body for laughter clubs in NSW • Last List of LCs in 2007 copied by three websites : • www.laughteryoga-australia.org(in Victoria) • www.letslaugh.com.au(Bronwyn Roberts, Victoria) • www.laughterlawyer.com.au(Jackie Curran, Sydney) • www.hohohahaha.com(me) • Lists not always updated by laughter leaders. A few clubs no • longer in existence?
Laughter Clubs in Sydney (that I know of/been to) • Newtown Sat 10am call Rada 9716 0130 email@example.com • My favourite, has been going since 2002. Free. • Hunters Hill (Woolwich!) Sat 9am Christine Kaye firstname.lastname@example.org • Est 2000 Shirley Hicks. Dispersed leadership – 1 laugh each, social. Free • Frenchs Forest (Belrose) Sat 9am call Nichole Sedgman 0410401969 email@example.com Free • Cronulla (Shelley Beach) Sat 8am? Call Michael Mitchell 9545 1028 firstname.lastname@example.org Not been, but heard good things. Free • Balgowlah (Balgowlah Uniting Church) – Tues 11am school term • Call Jim Murphy 9949-5773 Part of a seniors oriented program. Free. • North Sydney LY (NSCC) Sun 5pm call Jackie 9904 2885 email@example.com In some flux recently. $8 per session • Bondi Beach – Sun 10am – Noni Gove 02 9130-2317 Next to beach! Free • Hornsby – Sat 8.30am call Maria Keeler 9482-2488 Free
Laughter Clubs in Sydney (that I know of/been to) • Newcomers always welcomed. Made to feel welcomed. • Most outdoors (except NSLY and Balgowlah.) • All free – except NSLY - $8 towards rental. • All run by volunteer laughter leaders. • Quality/quantity of laughter may vary from session to session, • what laughers bring to the session. No guarantees!! Can’t be bottled. • Laughter clubs vary in degree of being social laughter clubs • ie social reasons too for attending. (Laughter is connecting.) • Attendance varies between clubs, sessions
Can’t Find a Club? Start One Up! • Start your own LAUGHTER CLUB!! • Quite EASY, really :- • Find a location – somewhere where you won’t disturb • others – in a park, community hall. • Set a time and date eg Saturday morning, 9am • Advertise, advertise, advertise! • Turn up every week. (Best if it’s a team, not solo.) • I’m happy to coach (vested interest)
Laughter Around the World Apologies for the green New Zealanders at the end. ~4 min long
Laughter for health videos For heart health, stress reduction ~4 min long
What is “Laughter Yoga”?? • Emerged around 2004 • Builds on success of laughter clubs • Way to “package” LCs (and therefore charge.) • Includes “laughter meditation” and yoga nidra for longer session • Formalized clapping sequences • Useful, but not essential to start a local laughter club. • My view - yes, ultimately is a form of yoga, but still evolving • Challenge – laughter sometimes forced or fake. • Previously stated – fake laughter and real laughter have same benefits (Me – don’t quite agree), now softened. • “Motion Creates Emotion” so LY can be very active • LY workshops in Sydney by Jackie Curran and Kathy Poppelwell.
History of Laughter Clubs in Sydney If enough time…. Skip if running out of time
A Brief History of Laughter Clubs in Sydney • ~1997 – Peter Salerno, Adelaide • Sponsors Dr Kataria’s visit to Australia. • First LC in Adelaide soon after. • Mentors Shirley Hicks, a Sydney naturopath in 2000 • 2000 – Laughter Clubs NSW Incestablished by Shirley Hicks • Non profit, free to public as community service • Run by volunteer laughter leaders • An umbrella organization for all laughter clubs in Sydney and NSW • Hunters Hill LC established (still going.) • 2000 – 2007 – Shirley Hicks runs Laughter Clubs NSW Inc • Shirley Hicks coordinates laughter club activity in NSW. • Gives one day laughter leader workshops quarterly. • The number of active clubs expands to ~15. • 2007 – Laughter Clubs NSW Folds • Not sure why, no reasons given. • Shirley Hicks subsequently moves to Queensland. • Number of laughter clubs in Sydney static • 2007 onwards – Commercial “laughter yoga” in Sydney emerges • Still no replacement umbrella NSW laughter club organization. • (unlike in Victoria, where the laughter movement is much stronger.) • Laughter yoga on commercial basis rather than as community service
Forthcoming Laughter Events in Sydney Laraaji’s Laughter Workshop at Opera House June 6 and June 7 2009 $25 Don’t know anything about it Dr Madan Kataria visiting Sydney on Saturday June 27 2009 An afternoon public talk $50 www.laughteryoga-australia.org Also find details of Jackie Curran’s and Kathy Popplewell’s Laughter Yoga Leader Training courses at the above website.
www.laughteryoga-australia.org Lists other events and trainings too
Resources Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) www.aath.org/archive.htmHuge archive of articles on laughter. Objective! But many scientific studies confuse laughter and humor. www.LaughterYoga.org - Dr Madan Kataria’s Website (India) www.LaughterYoga-Australia.orgRun by Merv Neal, Kataria’s rep in Vic www.LetsLaugh.com.au Bronwyn Roberts - Community oriented - Victoria www.LaughterClubsVic.org Umbrella organisation in Vic, none in NSW www.LaughterLawyer.com.au Jackie Curran – LY www.Vibrance.com.au Kathy Popplewell – LY www.LaughterStrategies.com Helene Grover – Dr Goodheart trained (emailed her recently but no reply… still doing laughter??) www.hohohahaha.com Usuff Omar – me
THANKS TO WEST RYDE LIBRARY FOR ORGANIZING THIS EVENT!!!