Very excited to have worked with a Parkinson’s disease support group last month in London.
The call came through after they saw laughter yoga featured on BBC 2 “Trust me I’m a Doctor” You can see the video here. Laughter Yoga is a very powerful complementary wellbeing tool. Click to Watch Laughter Yoga on Trust me I’m a Doctor
I have been a fan of my colleague in the USA Gita Fendelman since stumbling upon her work with those suffering from chronic conditions. I had not realised that Gita is a parkinsons sufferer. This i found out when researching laughter yoga and Parkinson’s disease. You can hear Gita’s incredible story here and there is no shadow of doubt that Laughter Yoga is helping not just Gita but those she works with. Gita has found laughter yoga to be highly beneficial to her quality of life.
So up until now in addition to working with laughter yoga in corporate wellbeing, I have been very lucky to share laughter yoga with people who suffer from various illnesses and ailments including Cancer, Chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS/ME, Bipolar, Chronic Pain, Depression, Anxiety and more…… This was a first for me to work with a group suffering from Parkinson’s. I checked in with colleagues who had all had great results with such groups.
The most incredible thing to note is why Laughter Yoga is so good for those who suffer from Parkinson’s. When we laugh we release a cocktail of chemicals including dopamine into the system and this is big one with regard to PK and helpful for alleviating some of the physical and emotional symptoms of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s starts with the slow degeneration of dopamine. Dopamine helps to regulate muscle function and movement. Dopamine supports our overall energy production and feelings of happiness. The symptoms of Parkinson’s occur as a result of a dopamine loss.
There can be various other symptoms connected to the disease such as low mood, depression, anxiety, pain which are all ailments and issues that laughter yoga can help with. Laughter Yoga is an instant stress release, helps to reduce blood pressure and lifts depression. It also boosts the immune system and increases circulation and oxygen levels throughout the body and brain. The endorphin’s we release when we laugh are said to be stronger than morphine which helps with any pain. We also know laughter can help boost our immune system.
So I was delighted to be contacted by a Parkinson’s Support Group in London for a laughter yoga session. After doing my research I planned a workshop that I felt would work. I gathered as much info as possible prior to the session. I was told that the participants were within different stages of the illness with one person in a wheelchair and all with differing degrees of mobility.
I planned a seated session where we were seated in a tight circle with a space in the middle to allow for movement. This way I could include everyone. Each exercise was prepared so it would be suitable for both seated and movement so those who could stand were encouraged to interact with those seated.
I arrived early and very quickly noticed there was one lady who was very obviously less mobile than the rest of the group, with her head down and she was sat next to a guy who was helping to care for her. A few people did not have any obviously noticeable symptoms so it was a very mixed mobility group.
Started the session with a song that I felt everyone would most likely know and took copies of the words to hand out. The song, “My Bonny lies over the ocean” turned out to be a good choice. I also took some egg rattles for a couple of reasons. We could create some movement and rhythm whilst we sung the song. This also allowed me to see how much movement people had at the start of the workshop. It was a lot of fun to shake the rattles as we sung creating lots of rhythm and movement. When we sing it instantly lifts our mood and raises the energy. Actually singing and laughter share many of the same benefits.
I handed out the egg rattles, and the guy helping the less mobile lady wrapped her hand around an egg rattle.
Everyone managed to shake the rattles, and we sang My Bonny. I also gave everyone the option of replacing the song words with Ha Ha’s and Ho Ho’s etc: so same tune, and laughter sounds.
The song did exactly what I wanted, and we were ready to roll. I managed to check out movement etc and then started the sharing of name intros followed by Ha Ha’s, sending lots of smiles and giggles around the circle.
For all exercises we had an option of standing up or remaining seated, greeting laughter where we greeted one another by shaking hands and laughing. Cell phone laughter (receiving the funniest call ever), laughing at our self, laughing at aches and pains and more.
The most incredible thing happened during this session and I felt like i was witnessing magic, the magic of laughter 🙂 The lady who appeared less mobile than the others stood up and joined in. She started off a little uneasy on her feet but I could not believe she had stood up. By the end of the session her head was up, she shared a few words too. It was almost like she had come alive. It felt like the group in the main really enjoyed the session and everyone remarked that they felt better at the end of the session.
This was one of my most personally satisfying sessions. I so so enjoyed working with this group and hope it will be one of many.
The way forward, I recommended telephone and skype laughter to the group and a daily dose of laughing for the health of it. The group were given various exercises and tips which they could bring in to everyday life. It will be fabulous if they choose to do some more laughter yoga sessions or if members of the support group can attend a local laughter club.
Following on from this session, I have been approached by a Dementia support group which is amazing.
In my research I have found the following articles really useful.
and the article below by my colleague in Australia Connie Costa
Laughter Yoga Leader Training in London October 2017 at our fabulous new Laughter Studio, the home of our London Training.
Laughter Yoga Wellness UK opens their new Laughter Training Academy
Big congratulation to our incredible new laughter yoga leaders, an international group representing Italy, Sweden and the UK.
We take our training very seriously and go the extra mile to ensure our trainees have the best possible start. A new training school with a fresh new approach to help our students shine. Spreading joy and happiness further and wider.
Next Training dates released for Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training in London January 2018
2 Day Leader Training plus optional Enhancer CPD day Exploring the power of positive words and the physiology of positivity. When booking please select either 2 day leader training or the 3 day option. Scroll to the bottom of the page for booking options
Laughter Yoga never ceases to amaze me and I continuously hear more and more stories about how incredible this very powerful tool is for so many people.
Laughter Yoga is and has helped colleagues, participants and clients. In this blog I share just some of their amazing experiences and stories.
One lady, I will refer to as “N” who suffers from bipolar sent me such a lovely email of how laughter yoga is helping her. It brought tears to my eyes when I read it. I know it is helping her and she very rarely misses a class but to receive her heartfelt email was just beautiful.
Laughter Yoga helps with Bipolar
“How can I describe laughter yoga? To me it is an invaluable happiness tool. I started laughter yoga about a year ago and have been a strict devotee since then. Every session brings me much joy and lifts my spirits by allowing me to laugh and play and regress back to childhood silliness. I have bipolar and have found laughter yoga a fabulous tool to lift my spirits when I’m feeling really down. Even when I feel fine, laughter yoga lifts you up and brings peace and calmness of mind. Odette is a fabulous leader whose laughter and joy for her work is infectious.”
Laughter Yoga reconnects us to laughter and joy
A guy I will call “George” also a regular at class. When he first came along I wondered if he was enjoying the class as he looked somewhat awkward and he was the last person I expected to come back again but then I received an email from George keen to know when the next class was. He had realised how he had become stuck in his intellect and had actually forgotten how to laugh. G had found the laughter yoga really helpful in reminding him how it felt to laugh. Regular Laughter Yoga classes helped George to reconnect with laughter and joy. The more we laugh, the easier it flows 🙂 Just like turning a tap on that has been off for some time. From this situation, I also learnt not to make assumptions about anyone’s experience and just because someone may look awkward at their first laughter yoga experience, one never knows what they are really experiencing and feeling inside. Laughter can be a very complex emotion and once we allow ourselves to push through our comfort zone, magic happens.
Laughter Yoga for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ME
Celia arrived at class having been recommended Laughter Yoga by a forward thinking GP 🙂 C has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS which is also known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis) and C is also suffering from anxiety. She has not missed a class yet and has been coming along for a few months. I can certainly see a huge rise in her confidence. I wish I had taken before and after photos 🙂 We have a chair on hand for C so she can take a seat anytime during the class. Most of the exercises work well for those who are seated. C is enjoying the classes and I am really hoping she keeps with the LY as I have many colleagues who have remarkable stories of how Laughter Yoga has helped with ME.
Laughter Yoga as a Creativity Boost
Another one of our regulars, I shall call M. M just loves to Laugh and comes along to do just that and he often also joins us at our after laugh socials. A few months ago we had a fabulous group of laughers and the laughter meditation was a very very long one, truly very powerful. M totally reached that point of catharsis which is an incredible release and very powerful in it’s own right. So when M got home his writing just flowed. M is a script writer and he had reached a bit of a block with this particular script. The laughter yoga had helped to boost his creativity and got his creative juices flowing once more.
I also see many many changes with our regulars, far to many to mention but the most obvious one is how their confidence grows with regular laughter yoga practice. It is literally like seeing a flower bloom, just incredible.
So many of our regulars come along for help with anxiety, depression and probably most common of all Stress. Almost everyone mentions how they feel better and less stressed after a laughter yoga session or class.
For further info or to book a Laughter yoga wellbeing Workshops for your group or business , please click to contact us today. We have experience of working with small/medium and global organisations, community groups, charities, hen parties. In addition to the incredible wellbeing benefits, our workshops are ideal for team building too!!
You too can learn how to help others and lead laughter yoga classes and workshops. We have dates coming up in October/November 2017 in London for Laughter Yoga Training Courses in London. We are also happy to travel to you to deliver our training courses. Please register via http://laughteryogawellness.co.uk/laughter-yoga-leader-training/ for further information and bookings.
Very busy last week with no less than 8 workshops, mostly Laughter Yoga for Mental Health Awareness Week. Fabulous to see so many different organisations and corporations embracing Mental Health Awareness.
I would be really surprised if each and every one of us is not affected by MH issues at some point in our lives, be it us personally or someone we know.
I know how it feels to suffer the effects of stress, panic attacks and depression and I am thankful to have found Meditation at that time in my life. Meditation was my support tool until I had the strength to move away from an unhealthy working environment.
Actually all that pain and misery was to be the making of me, drawing me to explore complimentary and holistic health and wellbeing methods and tools that I now work with to help others.
I now run Laughter Yoga Wellness London & UK. We offer various holistic health and wellbeing workshops and therapies that help people feel better in the workplace, including Laughter Yoga Wellbeing Workshops, Sound Meditation, EFT, Massage, Meditation and more offerings being added all the time.
Did you know ?
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
You can check out more unbelievable and interesting stats over at www.mind.org.uk
Fantastic Feedback from Imperial College where I held two laughter yoga wellbeing workshops for their Staff and Teachers as part of their #mhaw17 programme. How awesome, to be the highlight of their programme. Looking forward to more workshops at Imperial College.
Check out the lovely feedback
Thank you Odette, it was the highlight of our Mental Health Awareness Week programme. Something so different, fun and beneficial to staff stress levels and overall health. “
Some more feedback from participants at our Laughter Yoga Workshops for Mental Health Awareness Week with a few Media companies. All participants remarked on how less stressed they felt after the workshops.
It was lovely. Great to finish on Yoga Nidra
Fully enjoyed the session – really wasn’t sure how I would find it, but I loved it
Loved it !!
Great Fun, Feel energised and relaxed
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but loved it and feel very calm and happy now!
Really different and fun.
Really interesting session – never practised laughter yoga before and I definitely saw a difference in my mood.
I loved this session and would recommend this to everyone!!
Really good fun! Can we do it every Week?
It was great to get out of my comfort zone.
It was great! Very relaxing and uplifting!
Relaxed – like being a kid again.
Laughter Yoga is so much more than, Just a Laugh. Really this is a very powerful Holistic Health and Wellbeing tool.
Why Laughter Yoga ?
1. Elevates Mood 2. Reduces Stress 3. Strengthens the immune system 4. Relieves Pain 5. Social Connecter and Team Builder 6. Helps to improve efficiency and performance. 7. Energy Boost 8. Laughing through Challenges. It provides strength in adversity, a coping mechanism to help people keep a positive mental attitude regardless of circumstances.
Contact us for more info on making a difference to the health and wellbeing of your staff.
We had such an incredible day for World Laughter Day in London. Our day started with an hour or so of Laughter Yoga in the park. In the video you can see our laughter meditation in the very beautiful Victoria Embankment Gardens. It is fabulous with so many different types of laughs.
I think the sun must have heard our laughter and then it popped out to join us Ha Ha. We then headed to Trafalgar Square for some more laughter. A lunch stop and then laughter on the Tube until we reached our final destination at Piccadilly Circus.
A fabulous day with a lovely group of willing laughers, big ones and little ones. It was great to have a few toddlers in the group.
Until next year, when we will do it again.
A few more snap shots from the fabulous day.
We run regular laughter wellbeing workshops for members of the public in London on Saturday morning. Usually an hour and a half of rib tickling feel good laughter fun, often followed by an optional social. Contact us for private group bookings for your employee wellbeing or event.
Mental health problems are all too common in the workplace and it is the leading cause of sickness absence. A staggering 70 million work days are lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK, costing employers approximately £2.4 billion per year.
It is good to see so many businesses, charities, universities and colleges all embracing Mental Health Awareness month with many events planned and I am pleased to say we have already booked in several laughter workshops.
Mental Health Awareness Week is on 8-14 May 2017 and this is one of our busiest weeks so do book in early!! http://laughteryogawellness.co.uk/contact/
Laughter and Mental Health
There are various scholarly and research articles on the subject of Laughter and Mental Health. Many of the known physiological and psychological benefits are supported by the medical profession and various research studies.
A few links to some interesting articles on the subject of mental health and laughter.
In Summary – In modern society, fierce competition and socioeconomic interaction stress the quality of life, causing a negative influence on a person’s mental health. Laughter is a positive sensation, and seems to be a useful and healthy way to overcome stress. Laughter therapy is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapies that could make physical, psychological, and social relationships healthy, ultimately improving the quality of life. Laughter therapy, as a non-pharmacological, alternative treatment, has a positive effect on the mental health and the immune system. In addition, laughter therapy does not require specialized preparations, such as suitable facilities and equipment, and it is easily accessible and acceptable. For these reasons, the medical community has taken notice and attempted to include laughter therapy to more traditional therapies. Decreasing stress-making hormones found in the blood, laughter can mitigate the effects of stress. Laughter decreases serum levels of cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (a major dopamine catabolite), indicating a reversal of the stress response. Depression is a disease, where neurotransmitters in the brain, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, are reduced, and there is something wrong in the mood control circuit of the brain. Laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity. Furthermore, endorphins secreted by laughter can help when people are uncomfortable or in a depressed mood. Laughter therapy is a noninvasive and non-pharmacological alternative treatment for stress and depression, representative cases that have a negative influence on mental health. In conclusion, laughter therapy is effective and scientifically supported as a single or adjuvant therapy.
Laughter is a very common behaviour in everyday life, nevertheless scientific literature is lacking in studies which examine closely its nature. The study aims are: to summarise the present knowledge about laughter and its relation with depression and to make hypotheses on its possible therapeutic function. In the first part of the review the main data existing about encephalic structures involved in laughter genesis, which show participation of cortical and subcortical regions, are reported and the effects of laughter on the organism physiologic equilibrium, particularly on the neuroendocrine and immune systems, are described. In the second part, scientific evidence about the influence of depression on the ability to laugh are referred, which suggests that reduction of laughter frequency is a symptom of the disease and that its increase may be used as a marker of clinical improvement. Finally, the main assumptions supporting the hypothesis of the therapeutic action of laughter on depression are examined: first of all, it has been demonstrated that laughter is able to improve mood directly and to moderate negative consequences of stressful events on psychological well-being; in addition, it is possible that the stimulation of particular cerebral regions, involved in depression pathogenesis, and the normalisation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical system dysfunctions, both mediated by laughter, can counteract efficiently depressive symptoms; finally, the favourable effects of laughter on social relationships and physical health may have a role in influencing the ability of depressed patients to face the disease.
Reasons to adding a laughter workshop to your event and just some of the amazing benefits from our laughter yoga wellness workshops.
1. Elevates Mood
2. Reduces Stress
3. Strengthens the immune system
4. Relieves Pain
5. Social Connecter and Team Builder
6. Helps to improve efficiency and performance.
7. Energy Boost
8. Laughing through Challenges. It provides strength in adversity, a coping mechanism
to help people keep a positive mental attitude regardless of circumstances.
Contact us to add a laughter wellbeing workshop to your event or conference.
We are already preparing for World Laughter Day in London with a fabulous Laughter Crawl and Flash Mob planned. We will be meeting in a Central London location and delivering smiles and laughter along the way with the message of World Peace to those we meet. We will be laughing on public transport, tube laughter 🙂 and visiting various locations in London.
Free to join us and open to everyone. We will be joined by members of our London Laughter Club, other Laughter Yogis and members of the public. All that is required is a willingness to join us in spreading Laughter, the message of Peace and Joy.
For a taste of what to expect, here’s what we got up to last year at one of our stops in Embankment Gardens. Fingers crossed for another sunny beautiful day this year. To join us please scroll down to registration link 🙂
World Laughter Day takes place on the first Sunday of May. This year it falls on 7th May. The first celebration was in India almost 20 years ago and was arranged by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga.
Laughter Yoga says: Laughter is a positive and powerful emotion that has all the ingredients required for individuals to change themselves and to change the world in a peaceful and positive way.
Our mission to bring good health joy and world peace through laughter.
On this day the laughter club members and their friends and families get together in important squares public parks to laugh together and pray for world peace.
How Can We Bring World Peace Through Laughter?
Laughter is a universal language we all speak without any language barrier. Laughter Clubs are a powerful tool to connect people from different cultures and countries and provide social network of people who care for each other. By setting up laughter clubs all over the world we are creating a worldwide community of like-minded people who believe virtues like unconditional love and laughter generosity & forgiveness.
Formula is very simple -When you laugh; you change and when you change the world changes around you.
We are a new forum for Laughter Professionals, created in August 2016 by the founder of Laughter Yoga Wellness UK. Although we are mainly UK based, we currently have 120 members from all over the globe including the UK, USA , Australia and South Africa.
A super friendly space for connection, support, collaboration and networking with colleagues.
All professional Laughter Facilitators, Laughter Yoga Leaders and Teachers are welcome to join our facebook support forum. A fabulous resource for laughter professionals from the various schools of laughter.
The forum is hosted on facebook so you will require a facebook account to join us. Membership is Free of Charge and only open to laughter professionals. When you apply to join via the link, we may ask you to send a copy of your laughter certification or accreditation.