Laughter Yoga. I never even knew it existed as a form of yoga until I came across this article on aarp.com. But it seems this movement is growing as a popular treatment for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
What started as a "laughter club" for research purposes in 1995 has grown to approximately 6,000 sites in 60 countries that now offer laughter yoga.
Madan Kataria bases laughter yoga on the theory that the body cannot tell the difference between fake laughter and genuine laughter. Therefore, laughing for no apparent reason can have the same health benefits as laughing because of a joke.
Clapping, breathing and laughing to evoke positive emotions is the main idea surrounding laughter yoga. "Laughter brings more oxygen into the body and stimulates motion, stability and balance. It generates the feel-good endorphins and that boosts the immune system," says Angela Aracena, director of adult day services at Easter Seals in Miami, Florida.
The theory that laughter is contagious seems to ring true, as caregivers benefit from laughter yoga as well. The treatment is all about living in the moment, which is really all that these Alzheimer’s and dementia patients can do. Seeing their patients happy, in turn, makes them happy. Additionally, laughing together creates a great bond.
I guess laughter really is the best medicine!