Laughter has a social function: it connects people to each other. Much more than that, it also has therapeutic power and helps us stay healthy. Discover all its virtues with Corinne Cosseron, founder of Rigology® and the International School of Laughter.
The first scientific research on the healing properties of laughter dates back to 1980. An American journalist, Norman Cousins, relieved his pain due to a chronic degenerative disease (ankylosing spondylitis) thanks to therapeutic effects of laughter. He notably recounted in a book that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes in front of comic films allowed him to sleep without pain several hours in a row. Studies published in the 1980s-1990s showed that laughter relieved pain, boosted the immune system and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. Since then, many studies have confirmed these effects and many others.
Laugh at least 10 minutes a day
The benefits of laughter are observed from 10 to 15 minutes a day. Laughter is a physical and respiratory exercise that involves the whole body. “Laughter is already a deep breath. We exhale a lot more air when we laugh, which is very beneficial because it renews the oxygen inside our cells”, informs Corinne Cosseronfounder of rigologie® and the International School of Laughter. She specifies: “respiratory exchanges, three times greater when you laugh, help regenerate the body… Laughter also causes the release of endorphins in the brain, our natural morphine, which induces feelings of well-being and helps to fight pain effectively. Laughter also improves digestion and avoid constipation. “Lowering and raising the diaphragm as we do in laughter massages the viscera”, explains our specialist. Laughter also has the effect of lower cholesterol and lipid levels, as well as blood pressure. It promotes sleep and studies show that it is the best stress reliever of all. “The dilation of the spleen, linked to bursts of laughter, helps strengthen the immune system and the body,” says Corinne Cosseron.
La rigologie® to learn to laugh
Adults should learn from children who spontaneously laugh dozens of times a day. In effect, we don’t laugh enough. In France, people laughed an average of 19 minutes a day in 1939 compared to 6 minutes in 1980. Corinne Cosseron, also laughter ambassador and official laughter yoga master trainer of Dr. Madan Kataria, recalls in her seminars that 7% of French people say they never laugh.
So, put laughter back into your life, to stay healthy but also because “laughter is an accelerator of human relations”, underlines the founder of rigologie®. Scientific studies show that laughter makes us more sociable and happier. “It is already important to realize that we are no longer laughing. Once the desire to laugh returns, the hardest part is over,” she explains. To make more room for laughter in your life, you can watching comedy movies, going to see comedies, reading collections of funny stories or even taking laughter yoga classes and test Rigology®. “It’s an emotional release technique that allows you to reconnect with your authentic joy of living and to free yourself from the emotions blocked in us that can prevent us from laughing,” says Corinne Cosseron. Its advantage? You learn to laugh independently at home.
General practitioner in India, doctor Madan Kataria, created laughter yoga in 1995, to then spread it throughout the whole world. Laughter yoga or laughing for no reason is a practice that physically activates the mechanics of laughter to then trigger emotion in the brain. He proposes several techniques to practice laughing on command using deep breaths. Laughter yoga is practiced in a group. To find a laugh club:
- Anne-Sophie Glover-Bondeau (ANPM-France Mutuality)
- Photo credit: ©Shutterstock
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Why is laughter good for health?
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