Cancer Treatment Enhanced Through Laughter

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2008-11-29 10:22

Advanced cancer patients at Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, some in advanced stages of the disease, have found a new form of therapy through laughter, enhancing cancer treatment with laughter therapy. The old adage "laughter is the best medicine" enters the health arena for reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and simply making patients feel better.

Though researchers are not certain how much healing occurs with laughter, medical experts agree that laughter boosts bodily functions. Laughter promotes a sense of well-being, and improves muscle function and breathing. Read about the benefits of laughter to your health.

The Einstein Cancer Center offers patients a monthly laughter therapy session, called "Strength Through Laughter", described in a recent AP release. As patients gathered on Halloween to "spook cancer", most wore costumes as they laughed, hugged and provided support to one another.

Luz Rodriguez, a breast cancer patient at the Einstein Center says, "I feel healthy when I laugh." The hospital initiated the laughter therapy group five years ago in an effort to help cancer patients focus on living instead of dying. Laughter groups and clubs have gained much popularity across the country. Hospitals are embracing the idea, while laughter Yoga clubs can be found in 60 countries.

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Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of laughter Yoga is dubbed the "Guru of Giggling" by the London times. Dr. Kataria is associated with a number of research studies showing the health benefits of laughter. During the American Society of Hypertension 2008 Annual Meeting, he presented study findings involving 200 people. Dr. Kataria showed that yoga laughter is able to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, through a combination of gentle stretching, playful laughter and breathing exercises. Studies measured lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the bloodstream following laughter.

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