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Laughter the Best Medicine? West Ryde Library Thursday May 28 th 2009 6pm.

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Presentation on theme: "Laughter the Best Medicine? West Ryde Library Thursday May 28 th 2009 6pm."— Presentation transcript:

1 Laughter the Best Medicine? West Ryde Library Thursday May 28 th pm

2 The boring part…

3 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

4 Is Laughter the Best Medicine?

5 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)



8 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

9 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!

10 Report at American Society of Hypertension Conference May 2008, New Orleans, LA Significant reduction in BP in LY group over control group Systolic BP Diastolic BP Cortisol levels Source : 1. Laughter Lowers Blood Pressure BP

11 HELPS LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS (BSL) Newtown Laughter Club – 2004 – one participant said he needed less insulin when he was laughing. Heard indirectly. Go to and search for laughter Will find ten papers suggesting a role for laughter for diabetes JAPANESE STUDY WATCHED BORING LECTURE, THEN COMEDY RESULT - LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL AFTER THE COMEDY GLUCOSE (BSL) DIABETES MANAGEMENT 2. Laughter Helps Lower Blood Sugar Levels

12 3. Laughter May Help Prevent Heart Disease Dr Michael Miller, University of Maryland Dr Michael Miller, University of Maryland


14 4. Laughter Helps Immune System Dr Lee Berk, University of California, Irvine Immune system Stress hormones Endorphins


16 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 :

17 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. MARCH Laughter Increases Altruism Altruism

18 APRIL 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. 7. Laughter Increases Hope Optimism

19 8. Laughter is a Great Stress Buster Who says? The NSW Government!!


21 But you know it!

22 Best Cardio Workout Fitness/ Slimming Regulates Breathing Allergy and Asthma Arthritis Anger Management 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 Laughter Lots Other Benefits Not Mentioned Massages internal organs Sleep better Better relationships Improved social confidence

23 A Brief History of Laughter Proverbs 17:22 King James Bible A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:King James Bible 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 Followed up with Laughter Yoga.

24 Dr Madan Kataria, Mumbai, India March – 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 1995 – Birth of Laughter Clubs in India

25 If ever your in Zimbabwe, drop in…..


27 After the laughter session How did it go?????? or

28 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 anyones 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 Club Demo Discussion

29 HAPPY LAUGH Thats true. What is also true is :- LAUGH HAPPY Ie. WE LAUGH TO BECOME HAPPIER SENSE OF HUMOUR LAUGH Thats true. What is also true is :- LAUGH SENSE OF HUMOUR Ie LAUGHTER INCREASES OUR SENSE OF HUMOUR Laughter Causes and Effects – Works Two Ways

30 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) How Do We Get Laughter to Work For Us Therapeutically?

31 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 Now no coordinating body for laughter clubs in NSW Last List of LCs in 2007 copied by three websites : (in Victoria) (Bronwyn Roberts, Victoria) (Jackie Curran, Sydney) (me) Lists not always updated by laughter leaders. A few clubs no longer in existence?

32 Laughter Clubs in Sydney (that I know of/been to) Newtown Sat 10am call Rada My favourite, has been going since Free. Hunters Hill (Woolwich!) Sat 9am Christine Kaye Est 2000 Shirley Hicks. Dispersed leadership – 1 laugh each, social. Free Frenchs Forest (Belrose) Sat 9am call Nichole Sedgman Free Cronulla (Shelley Beach) Sat 8am? Call Michael Mitchell Not been, but heard good things. Free Balgowlah (Balgowlah Uniting Church) – Tues 11am school term Call Jim Murphy Part of a seniors oriented program. Free. North Sydney LY (NSCC) Sun 5pm call Jackie In some flux recently. $8 per session Bondi Beach – Sun 10am – Noni Gove Next to beach! Free Hornsby – Sat 8.30am call Maria Keeler Free

33 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!! Cant 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

34 Cant Find a Club? Start One Up! Start your own LAUGHTER CLUB!! Quite EASY, really :- Find a location – somewhere where you wont 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 its a team, not solo.) Im happy to coach (vested interest)

35 Laughter Around the World Apologies for the green New Zealanders at the end. ~4 min long

36 Laughter for health videos For heart health, stress reduction ~4 min long

37 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 – dont quite agree), now softened. Motion Creates Emotion so LY can be very active LY workshops in Sydney by Jackie Curran and Kathy Poppelwell. What is Laughter Yoga??

38 History of Laughter Clubs in Sydney If enough time…. Skip if running out of time

39 A Brief History of Laughter Clubs in Sydney ~1997 – Peter Salerno, Adelaide Sponsors Dr Katarias visit to Australia. First LC in Adelaide soon after. Mentors Shirley Hicks, a Sydney naturopath in – Laughter Clubs NSW Inc established 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 ~ – 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

40 Laraajis Laughter Workshop at Opera House June 6 and June $25 Dont know anything about it Dr Madan Kataria visiting Sydney on Saturday June An afternoon public talk $50 Also find details of Jackie Currans and Kathy Popplewells Laughter Yoga Leader Training courses at the above website. Forthcoming Laughter Events in Sydney


42 Lists other events and trainings too

43 Resources Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) Huge archive of articles on laughter. Objective! But many scientific studies confuse laughter and humor. - Dr Madan Katarias Website (India) Run by Merv Neal, Katarias rep in Vic Bronwyn Roberts - Community oriented - Victoria Umbrella organisation in Vic, none in NSW Jackie Curran – LY Kathy Popplewell – LY Helene Grover – Dr Goodheart trained ( ed her recently but no reply… still doing laughter??) Usuff Omar – me


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