Friday I was flying home on Jetblue and caught a news segment on a form of yoga called Laughter Yoga. A laughter yoga class “combines traditional yoga breathing with prolonged laughter” and involves “playful exercises…that involve deep, long lasting belly laughs.” The segment was on CBS news and it discussed the results of some major recent studies that show how practicing Laughter Yoga can reduce blood pressure by 10-15%. Not in the mood to laugh? Don’t worry, since apparently “laughter yoga is based on the scientific fact that the body can’t differentiate between real and fake laughter.. so it gets the same psychological and physiological benefits.”
Some additional info on the study from CNN, which also picked up this story:
“Researchers at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine randomly assigned 90 men and women between the ages of 40 and 74 to receive hourlong music or laughter sessions every other week, or no therapy at all. . . The laughter sessions included listening to humorous Japanese storytelling somewhat akin to stand-up comedy and laughter yoga, a practice of faking laughter until it feels natural. . . The three-month decline [in blood pressure from participation] is in the range of what could be expected in someone adopting a low-salt diet, losing 10 pounds, or taking a blood-pressure-lowering medication.”
Wow. Pretty great results right? Maybe we should all just be watching consecutive episodes of ‘Modern Family’ to get in the mood–in my opinion the funniest show on TV right now. Maybe watching is good for our health.