New to Laughter Wellness? Start at the beginning. Get the eBook 505 Best of Laughter Exercises. This is the ultimate guide to the laughter exercises that fuel the creativity of 1000s of community laughter clubs worldwide. $17.95
The Laughter Wellness method follows a five step process and unfolds in a smooth blend of action and relaxation, group interactions and introspection. Participants are taken on a fluid journey into the movements and behaviors of health, joy and connectedness, using whatever muscles are available to them. It’s an experience filled with positive and life-affirming interactions. Laughter is the glue between all activities, and it is used as a form of elective exercise. There are no jokes or comedy. We simply choose to laugh, because we can.
This interactive wellness modality can be practiced standing or seated. No equipment or particular articles of clothing are required. The minimum recommended duration is 20 minutes. A typical intervention lasts 45 minutes to 1h, but can easily be made to last several hours.
Intentional laughter The Laughter Wellness method is about choosing to laugh, not faking it. You do not have to feel good, be happy or have a sense of humor to participate. Allow, don’t force. It does not matter whether you connect with genuine free-flow laughter or not.
Personal growth Be who you are. You don’t have to entertain or impress anybody. Strive to always give what you would like to receive.
Health, joy, community Laughing as a form of exercise is good, but we are not simply mechanical machines. Go beyond the obvious. Strive to create a healthy D.O.S.E. of happiness (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins) while you are it, promoting healthy interactions that bring people together!
Physical benefits: Learn how to use laughter as a valuable form of preventive and complementary medicine. (Strengthen all immune functions and provide important natural defenses against illness.)
Mental benefits: Learn how to diffuses bad stress, enhance problem-solving skills, and create a new perspective.
Emotional benefits: Learn how to elevate moods, counteract depression symptoms, promote recovery from negative emotions.
Social benefits: Learn how to foster better communication, help build cooperative bonds that are vital to group living and improve empathy between people.
On a deeper level Laughter Wellness shows how to promote leadership skills, a positive mindset and everything that comes with it, and create an inner pool of attraction for a different, more integrated way of being in the world.
Here is what a template Laughter Wellness session looks like. (Watch the video below for a commentary of how it works.)
Here is a brief overview of the theoretical framework of the Laughter Wellness method.
What: The Laughter Wellness method is a new and highly therapeutic approach to laughter: There is no humor or comedy, and nothing is faked or forced. We choose to laugh.
There is much more to laughter than what first meets the eye. Laughter falls into one of five categories:
Spontaneous laughter. This is unrelated to one’s free will, and is triggered by different (external) stimuli and positive emotions. Humor belongs to this group, amongst several other techniques. It has been around since time immemorial, with mixed results. Although often associated, it is important to note that laughter and humor are distinct events. Whereas humor is a stimulus that can occur without laughter, laughter is both an emotion and a response and can occur without humor.
Stimulated laughter happens as a result of the physical contact or action (reflex) of certain stimuli (e.g., someone tickles you). It is a frequent source of embarrassment when practiced with strangers.
Induced laughter is of a chemical nature e.g., by inhaling laughing gas (nitrous oxide).
Pathological laughter is often associated with crying and tends to be uncontrollable and excessive. It is a relatively frequent consequence of brain damage, when not resulting from neurological illnesses.
The fifth category is a new a refreshing approach to laughter and Laughter Wellness’ tool of choice. It is called voluntary simulated (intentional) laughter, i.e., triggered by oneself at will (self-induced). It is the most universal and inclusive way to tap into your own inner cellular pharmacy and use laughter for health and wellness.
It was first imagined by the American psychologist Dr. Annette Goodheart in the mid-1970s as a way to help rebalance the chemistry of emotions and heal the body, mind and spirit. It then caught the world’s attention as a form of exercise through the Indian Laughter Yoga movement and its many thousands of affiliated Community Laughter Clubs.
Why: Because making laughter a choice (and not a consequence) offers important benefits that the (rare) spontaneous laughter of daily life does not.
Voluntary simulated laughter offers important benefits that the (rare) spontaneous laughter of daily life does not:
It’s a valid alternative. Imagine cutting a lemon in half, and squeezing it in your mouth. How do you feel? The more vivid your imagination of this experience, the stronger your body will react. Your mind knows there is no lemon, but your body doesn’t. It’s the same phenomenon when you simulate laughter. Your mind will always know the difference between simulated and genuine laughter, but your body never will because it can’t think. The body can only feel. The physiological benefits of laughter are linked to its duration and intensity, not to what motivates you to laugh.
It gives you more, because you can choose to laugh for extended periods of time. The more you laugh, the more physiological benefits you obtain. The spontaneous laughter that naturally occurs in daily life, in comparison, only comes for a few seconds here and there and does not produce the same level of benefits.
It gives you more, because you can choose to laugh heartily from deep down in the belly. This is important from a health perspective, because laughter acts as a pump and the heartier it is, the bigger its impact. Deep diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the cleansing of the lymphatic system by creating a vacuum effect that pulls the lymph through the bloodstream. This increases the rate of toxic elimination by as much as 15 times the normal rate. In daily life, deep belly laughter is rare and generally short-lived when it does occur.
It allows people to vocalize rather than verbalize tension and safely diffuse it. Learning to release inner tensions through sounds and no narrative helps people see reality rather than their made-up distortion of it.
It is sustainable. Simulated laughter is always new, fresh and different. It’s the purest form of laughter there is because there is no reason for it. It is free of conditions, beyond culture and time, and requires no particular setup or equipment.
It is reliable. The Laughter Wellness method is thoroughly documented, in print and online. There is nothing to stop you from laughing when you want to. In comparison, the spontaneous laughter of daily life is not reliable because it is dependent on too many factors outside of your control.
It forces a shift in attitude from “I can’t” into “I can.” The regular practice of voluntary simulated laughter forces a shift from the belief that laughter is “nowhere” into the realization that laughter is “now here.” By choosing to laugh, you create safety for yourself, while establishing a choice to live.
Who: Indian heritage. American know-how.
Hello! My name is Sebastien Gendry. I am the creator of the Laughter Wellness method. Allow me to briefly introduce myself to you because it will also introduce Laughter Wellness.
I have many professional titles that define me as a leading global laughter expert. At the core, however, I am an innerpreneur ─ that’s an entrepreneur who uses his business to find personal fulfillment (creatively, spiritually, emotionally) and create social change.
The world of laughter has been my chosen profession for the past decade. The beginnings were rough, as there was no path I could follow. I was the first person in the Western world to dedicate myself full-time to the teaching and promotion of Laughter Yoga, a new and fun exercise regime from India.
I poured my soul into it, travelled over 1/2 million miles bringing laughter to 1000s on 4 continents and became one of the architects who helped shape Laughter Yoga to what it is today. The journey didn’t stop there, however. I spent years deepening my understanding, continuously learning, questioning and reworking how to use laughter to unlock the inner potential for change.
In time my skillset matured and became the Laughter Wellness method, an effective, far-reaching and reliable health promotion and disease prevention program where laughter is used as a tool to achieve wellness in body, mind and spirit. It’s a professional approach to voluntary simulated laughter and a service that people value. I am not claiming it is the best, but I am saying that this one is complete, solid, and it works.