There goes a story that in China about 3000 years ago there was a saint called Hotai. He used to go from one village to another stopping at the central place of the village and laugh loudly and unabashedly for some time before he proceeded to the next village. He did not speak to anyone but just laughed and moved along. While he stood and laughed, initially people started wondering why, but the infectious laughter caught on and soon the entire village joined him in this mirth.
The villagers on remembering his laughter continued even after he had left and village after village followed suit with people laughing to their heart’s content. It was said that this improved the health of the people of all those who practiced this laughter and people were amazed at the improvement in their lives. This miracle spread across the land and people regarded him as a divine being and nicknamed him the Laughing Buddha’.
If this is indeed the origin of laughter therapy I am glad it happened. Laugh alone and you are christened a madman, laugh in a group and you are part of a Laughter Club.
The very concept of laughter therapy had long been introduced in a few hospitals and institutions around the world as a remedy for quick healing. It is another matter altogether that people in general fearing ridicule did not give vent to open displays with guffaws or howling laughter. Restraint stayed put despite the desire to give freedom to loud expression now and then.
Laughter therapy it seems has been described even in ancient scriptures as an instrument to heal minds and elevate souls. Laughter was split into eight different types.
Laughter clubs have adopted three of them.
1) The full hearted laughter (which could bring up the dead)
2) The silent laughter (practiced best when alone. Somebody seeing might think you are mocking them)
3) The horse laughter (which is akin to horse laughs that you see when a group is jesting with a misshapen victim)
Laughter therapy is actually a regimen of controlled and guided instructions, with training imparted from a practiced expert. Exercises for the whole body, the upper half, the mid portion and the lower half are combined with the laughing chapter. Advantages per se are:
1. Exercises are that which increase the power and capacity of body’s joints and muscles.
2. The exercises are done for only fifteen to twenty minutes
3. There is no strain on the body.
4. Ailments start taking a back seat within a few days of commencing these exercises
5. These exercises can be done any time except immediately after meals.
6. Young or old, man or woman, can equally participate and reap the benefits.
7. There is nothing complicated about the exercises. In no time a person can do it on one’s own, confidently.
8. If possible one can practice laughter alone in the privacy of one’s house or garden.
9. People who have been shy or diffident or from secluded backgrounds open up quickly.
10. Camaraderie develops phenomenally, confidence is boosted tremendously.
People have actually vouched for a vast improvement in the psyche, a confidence never felt before, a broad minded attitude and a goodbye to aging ailments like constant headache, body ache, tension, stress, slowing down of the body and so many others .
If you are not part of the Merry Brigade already, take a walk down to your nearest Laughter Club and laugh all your way to the Health Bank.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!