Frequently Asked Questions
We have answered this question at http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/laughter-contra-indications.
You don’t. It depends on what you want to achieve. Let’s review two important concepts:
Spontaneous laughter (which you are talking about) 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.
Intentional (voluntary) laughter (which we teach) is a safe, reliable and sustainable way to tap into your own inner cellular pharmacy and use laughter to promote health, wellness and well being. It offers important benefits that the occasional 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 vividly you imagine this experience is, 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 intentionally choose to laugh. Your mind will always know the difference between simulated and genuine laughter, but your body won’t because it can’t think. The body can only feel.
- It lasts longer and offer more benefits. Just like with any form of exercise, 20-60 minutes of continuous practice will give you much more benefits than just a few seconds at a time. 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’s an easy way to reliably access your own inner cellular pharmacy. Laughter acts as a pump and stimulates the cleansing of the lymph 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’s a safe way to release tension. Choosing to laugh allows people to vocalize rather than verbalize tension and safely diffuse it. Humans are feelings machines, and the flux of emotions is not always easy to control. In daily life, people resist the urge to laugh, cry, scream, or otherwise be emotional, but emotions are illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. When you have too much of them, they just come out. Imagine a pressure cooker. It’s the same phenomenon. At some point, no matter how strong it is, it will explode if the pressure inside keeps building. Learning to release inner tensions without narrative solely through the expression of sound helps people see reality more clearly, without personal distortions.
- It is sustainable. Intentional 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 a fully codified and substantiated approach to Laughter Therapy. There is nothing to stop you from laughing when you want to. From a therapeutic perspective, the spontaneous laughter of daily life is not reliable because it is dependent on too many factors outside of your control.
- It’s a tool for personal development. Choosing to laugh forces a shift in attitude from “I can’t” into “I can.” In time the belief that laughter is “nowhere” evolves into the realization that laughter is “now here”. This promotes a positive mindset and everything that comes with it. Would you still be able to laugh if everything that makes you happy and feel good disappeared overnight? The answer is most probably no, and this is why our approach to laughter can be of great benefit to you, even if you already laugh a lot. It will help put the reasons why you laugh inside of you, not outside, and teach you equanimity. Only one who knows how to create a balance between favorable and unfavorable situations can maintain balance of mind and his composure.
The Laughter Wellness method may be a powerful, documented and inexpensive form of complementary medicine, yet it is not and cannot be a substitute for medical treatment. We do not recommend nor suggest in any way shape or form that you discontinue your current treatment plan if you have one. Please share what you are doing with your primary health physician and follow his/her advice.
Ignore everything the fear-mongers have to say: In the end it’s only up to you.
If you resonate with the idea and it makes you feel more comfortable, then the answer is absolutely yes (You can download a template disclaimer form here (In microsoft .doc format: http://lou.pm/ddoc). This form is offered as a service only and has not been reviewed by a lawyer. I do not guarantee its legal validity.) They have value as a form of prevention, in that they reinforce the message that people are responsible for their own health. From a legal viewpoint, however, they offer no real protection. In the USA a non-disclaimer form must be read out loud and signed in front of a witness to be valid in Court, and even that is not a guarantee you will win a lawsuit.
Just for the record, several laughter practitioners and Community Laughter Clubs have been taken to court over the years in various countries around the world, but none for health reasons so far. The consistent complaint is noise disturbance, and the request of the attacking party is to “stop the cacophony.” Read a typical example here.
There are numerous, all very good, Laughter Therapy programs in existence today that will each teach you something valuable. The question is not really about which one is best but rather which one will serve you best based on your own personality, learning style, and what you want to achieve. Find out who the founder of your method of choice is and learn more about that person. Search youtube.com to see videos of him or her in action. Some methods are strongly influenced by the world of humor and heavily rely on jokes, props, funny hats, clown noses, tutus, clown wigs, etc. Others are experienced in improv’ theater, art, music or dance therapy, meditation, tai-chi, hypnosis, 1-1 coaching…and have combined their skills with laughter. Find out if it’s a solo or 1-1 practice, or if they teach group dynamics.
The Laughter Wellness method is a solid synthesis of the best techniques and exercises available today in the world of Laughter Therapy at large. We believe in playfulness that leads to personal growth, joy-filled techniques and exercises that promote a deeper level of awareness, and positive and empowering human connections that foster social harmony. The strategies we have developed engender confidence and the scope of our teaching material offer facilitators endless variations when they add their own creativity. You can learn with us in person or online, at the beginning of your journey or after years of practice as a laughter professional. Either way we guarantee you will learn a lot, and offer a full money-back guarantee if you are not 100% satisfied with our program.
We are currently working on creating a directory of Laughter Wellness teachers around the world. There is a listing of community Laughter Clubs here. Below is a one hour Laughter Wellness session with its founder, Sebastien Gendry:
True. We live in a world where very few things can make people laugh, while hundreds can make them frown, howl and cry. Many people lose track of the therapeutic values of laughter when stress and adversity knock at their door.
“Why should we laugh?” they say. “It doesn’t pay the bills.”
Society teaches that problems are serious and need to be addressed seriously. Laughter, on the other hand, is often perceived as frivolous and only relevant in its proper time and place.
There is a different way to look at this.
Laughing in the face of adversity won’t pay your bills, but it will teach you equanimity. It is not about strength, but courage, because it’s about letting go. Only one who knows how to create a balance between the favorable and unfavorable situations can maintain mental balance and composure. Life is not always fun, but it certainly is much more fun with laughter than without.
Practices such as Laughter Wellness help you feel at peace and good about yourself in the present moment, for no particular reason. They give you the ability to laugh at things that previously would have caused stress or anger, along with the ability to experience a new sense of forgiveness.
When you change, the world around you changes. When you feel good, you are more likely to address the challenges you have to face constructively and with a positive attitude.
You can laugh when you want to, because you want to, if you want to. You can train yourself to react positively in the face of adversity. Whatever happens to you, whether pleasant or unpleasant, doesn’t matter at all. Nerve impulses are just that ─ nerve impulses. They mean nothing.
Choosing to remain positive and be comfortable with your imperfections and the challenges in your life does not mean you have to be complacent about them. You should not. Laughing about them is a sign of maturity. It’s a political act, a declaration of freedom, a demonstration that we are not afraid, that we refuse to let fear, anger, guilt or resentment win and rule our lives.
Please contact your chosen Laughter Wellness teacher directly for more information on this matter.
We do not offer continuing education credits at this point in time but this is something we are working on so stay tuned. In the meantime we are happy to provide all the needed documentation for you to apply yourself with your state professional board.
We are enforcing the following waiver because of our sincere concern for your best health and safety. It is our hope that it will help you make an informed decision as to if and how you should proceed with the exercises presented to you in our products, trainings and services.
Although simulated laughter exercises have proven itself to be safe in most instances, individuals with physical or psychological medical histories should definitely consult the appropriate medical health professional for specific guidance prior to using these or any exercise routine.
- I understand that I am learning only techniques to help improve health and personal wellbeing from my Laughter Wellness facilitators, teachers, instructors and providers (herein referred to as Facilitators)
- I understand that the facilitators are not medical health providers and the individual instruction they are offering is not to obtain information about my personal physical or emotional health.
- This individual instruction is to obtain educational information on skills to implement simulated laughter exercises and not for providing personal health advice.
- I understand that the facilitators are not treating any physical or emotional condition that I may have.
- I am totally responsible if I choose to implement any techniques that I learn from the facilitators and realize I need not accept any educational information that the facilitators present in this laughter session planner.
- I recognize that it is my personal responsibility to consult my physician before implementing any techniques that the facilitators discuss in their individual instruction.
If the information presented in any of the courses offered by facilitators is used without consultation and approval of a physician, the individual will be diagnosing for him or herself. No responsibility is assumed therefore by the facilitators for the use of the information contained in these courses in lieu of a doctor’s services. Some of the techniques discussed in the instruction may be dangerous when improperly used. I accept that it is my full responsibility if I attempt to self-treat based on information in these instructions. The information presented in all the courses offered through the facilitators are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Each Individual participating in any of our in-person program is responsible for his or her own insurance needs (be it accidental and or medical). By signing up to any of our workshops, trainings or events you implicitly agree that you have read, agree without reserve and comply with all of the following:
- You have read and fully understand that Laughter Wellness exercises are equivalent to any other aerobic exercise and therefore accept full responsibility for your physical fitness and declare that you are able to participate in this event.
- You release the facilitators/teachers/instructors from any liability, should there be any accidental injuries that may occur during the laughter yoga exercises.
- You have consulted your physician and are able to participate in your chosen event. You further declare that you are not suffering from any of the following conditions: uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, epilepsy, any kind of hernia, severe backache or major psychiatric disorder.
We offer lifetime certifications, but only endorse and support Laughter Wellness Teachers who are committed to their professional growth and keep their knowledge up-to-date. This can be done by attending an annual laughter conference (e.g. the All America Laughter Conference) or maintaining an active membership with the Laughter Online University ($99/year).
Money spent on continuing education, when taken to maintain and improve professional skills, is tax deductible. There are also other business circumstances that may make such expenses tax deductible. Please contact your accountant for details.
We allow informal and low-tech videotaping or sound recording of the workshop provided (1) it is for personal use only and (2) it does not interfere with the class.
You will receive a summary email about the exact location of your chosen training and nearby sleeping options as soon as you sign up. If your chosen training is in the USA here is a list of free resources you may find useful in planning your trip:
- Check airlines fares through https://www.kayak.com/flights.
- Get from the airport to your destination using Supershuttle shared taxis, Uber or Lyft.
- Find nearby hotels using the training address with Orbitz.com. Consider the airbnb.com alternative, or even couchsurfing.com if you are on a budget.
- Contact your teacher directly and tell them what your needs are! S/he may be able to help you connect with another participant driving from your area, or looking to share a hotel room.
- Illegal / hallucinatory drugs of any kind, alcoholic anything and pets are not allowed in any of our trainings (unless service animals).
- Incense, Candles.
- In consideration of those with chemical sensitivities, kindly refrain from wearing anything that has a scent or fragrance.
- Please keep your cell phone switched off or on vibrate mode during all training sessions.
Unless otherwise specified there is no dress code for our trainings and workshops. Bring any clothes that make you feel good.
If you have checked and you are not covered by anybody else’s general liability policy, then it is a good idea to get your own for peace of mind.
Always give ample of consideration to safe practice if you choose to go without! You may also want to review your existing insurance policies and/or ask your insurance broker for advice. You may not need a new plan.
For insurance purposes Laughter Wellness Teachers are akin to fitness or yoga professionals.
Who qualifies for insurance?
Here what our own insurance www.sportsfitness.com says about this:
“We offer a general liability policy that includes coverage for Professional Liability and Sexual Abuse and Molestation, so the coverage is much broader than a simple general liability policy. This is a specialized policy developed for yoga and fitness professionals.
Our insurance program is not for specific yoga certifications, but for yoga teachers in general. We may ask for certifications on our applications, but that is simply a tool for us to track where the business is coming from. In the event of a claim, I cannot envision a scenario where we would deny a claim based on certification, or lack thereof. Our policy has NO exclusionary language related to certifications.”
You may want to check the exact requirements of your chosen insurance. Call them. In case there is ever a claim the last thing you want is to find out that your insurance is invalid.
Where can you get insured?
The cost of public liability insurance in the USA varies between $125 and $300 per year.
Here are options you may want to investigate that we know of, from cheaper to more expensive (the more you pay, the more you get).
- Being a member of CanFitPro (a fitness organization) makes you eligible for liability insurance (very affordable), which you can then get through www.sthunt.com
- http://www.rowlandhouse.com ($183 insured with CGU)
- http://www.oamps.com.au/ ($89 + having to be a member of http://www.ahhca.org/ for $140 = $230)
- http://www.icfrith.com.au/ ($195)
- It is worth asking your local neighborhood centers if you can be covered under their insurance. They may or may not decide to charge you.
let us know if you know more providers, in these or other countries!
There are absolutely no regulation on Laughter Wellness teachers, or any other types of Laughter Professionals for that matter. You do not need to be certified, registered, or licensed in order to offer laughter programs. This means that unless required by an establishment (e.g., gym or health club) instructors are not required to hold any certification in order to work as an instructor. In fact, some of the most experienced and well-known teachers in the world have never been certified, registered, or licensed. That is because “Laughter Therapy” is a relatively recent concept, especially in regards to teaching it.