The experience of Dr. Mohan Kataria, pioneer of Hasya Yoga, with laughter clubs worldwide, taught him that people were definitely deriving health benefits from laughter yoga exercises. But there was no scientific proof that Dr. Kataria could offer to satisfy logical minded people especially in the west. “I had no problems in India as more than 100,000 people laughed every morning without asking me for any proof but when it came to the West everybody asked, do you have the data?”
Finally, in 2003-04 the first authentic research was completed by Dr. Ilona Papousek from the University of Graz in early fall 2004. According to the news release by Ananova – March 2004, a new study shows that laughter really is the best therapy for stroke patients, according to scientists.
A study was conducted at a computer company where Mr. Thomas Flindt led a session of laughter yoga in the beginning of the day throughout the month of May 2004.
This project shows clearly the effect that a regular practice of laughter yoga has on the stress levels. On an individual level the results are remarkable. The body stress levels are significantly reduced.
Laugh-yoga is a discipline practiced by individuals, usually in a school-type environment. The laughter is not in response to some form of comedy or physical stimulus like tickling: It’s a forced exercise-like routine in which the participants laugh together as a group, much like the aerobic exercises common in the United States. In a sense, I suppose, it’s pretty much simply an alternative form of aerobic exercise. It starts off with breathing exercises followed by a gentle “hee, hee, hee” that eventually builds up into a raucous “ha, ha, ha.” When you think about it, are we dealing with anything new? Similar exercises have long been acknowledged as ways to improve your circulation (including blood pressure) and your health in general. Even Kataria seemed to agree when he was asked whether a good sense of humor is required to perform the routine and stated, “It’s not about humor or being funny. It’s about exercising the diaphragm with laughter.”