When we think of our best moments there are often many smiles and lots of laughter involved; Whether it is a day with your loved ones at the amusement park, getting a new puppy, or watching endless funny videos on YouTube. A single laugh transforms a bad day into a good day, yet it’s not something we think we need to practice or instil in our daily lives – especially considering everything else that needs to get done in 24 hours. Add that onto having a chronic health condition and your day is packed with so many routines and exercises that adding one more seems like a chore. We all know the effect daily stressors have on our bodies- poor quality sleep and tiredness are all things that affect our daily health.
We know that good lung volume recruitment and equipment like the Cough Assist are important in the maintenance of good respiratory health for neuromuscular disorders. But have you ever thought of the amount of exercise your lungs get when your friends stir you into a laughing fit? Now you can with laughter yoga!
Laughter yoga sessions are led by a laughter leader, who directs the laughter session, explains and gives guidelines to complete different laughter exercises. These exercises are interspersed with deep breathing exercises to help flush the lungs, and also bring physical and mental relaxation along with child like play. Most laughter and yoga breathing exercises are intended to stimulate the movement of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles that help activate the parasympathetic system. The stress arousal sympathetic system can be turned off simply by learning to move the diaphragm. There are the nasal Hehehe’s, the throaty Hahaha’s or the deep belly laugh of the famous man in red, HOHOHO. All of these laughs force our lungs to recruit enough air to both oxygenate our bodies and produce an audible laugh. The purpose of Laughter Yoga techniques is to develop a good, relaxing breathing method. It may be practiced anytime, especially during stressful situations to provide a sense of wellness. When we laugh we breathe, and when we breathe we feel more alert, focused and energized.
So next time you think of your respiratory health and are going though your daily routines of exercises and breathing techniques, think about the possibility of adding another technique- Laughter Yoga! Not only will you be working your chest wall to increase lung and tidal volume, but you also have other health benefits like decreased stress and more smiles to turn a good day, into a great day.
For more information on laughter yoga please click here.