Health & Medicine

Sunday, 18 May 2008 18:34

Laughter exercise sweeping the world comes to Cape

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{pp}A laughter revolution that is sweeping the world comes to Cape Town next week. International laughter coach and teacher Bill Gee will visit Cape Town for a public laughter workshop and laughter training course.

New scientific techniques enable us to see how the brain works and measure our hormones in real time. They are confirming that laughter really is the best medicine. Scientists tell us we can laugh ourselves healthy and well by laughing for one hour a week. We know that laughing for extended periods makes us feel good.

Scientific research shows that laughter quickly reduces stress, boosts our immune system, reduces blood pressure and provides a fun and easy cardio and aerobic workout. A new technique that approaches laughter as a body exercise makes it possible to get your dose of laughter, even when you don’t feel like laughing. Gee’s talk, "Laugh yourself healthy - the science of laughter” will take place at the MTN Sciencentre (Canal Walk) at 19;00 on Thursday 22 May. A laughter workshop after the talk will allow Capetonians to participate in a no-jokes laughter session. His visit is arranged by LaughSA, a company dedicated to providing professional laughter coaching and therapy services. “Approaching laughter as an exercise really is causing a revolution”, says Gee.

“Since this technique left India in 1999 it has spread to more than sixty countries. People all over the world are practicing laughter because it makes them feel so good.” “Laughter is nature’s stressbuster. It quickly reduces cortisol levels and keeps them down. It also releases endorphins – natural opiates manufactured in our body that act as pain killers and make us feel good.” Laughter provides a fast cardio workout and is shown to reduce blood pressure.

In India, where hundreds of thousands of people practice laughter yoga, studies show that laughter can alleviate or cure chronic depression, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and many other stress-related conditions.” You don’t need to feel happy or feel like laughing to get the benefits of laughter. “We don’t use jokes, comedy or humor to laugh. Look at children --- they laugh 300-500 times a day. Our techniques teach adults to recapture their natural childhood laughter.” Bill Gee is working with scientists and laughter therapists worldwide to develop specialised laughter programs for different groups. “Corporate laughter programs are taking off,” says Gee.

“Scientific studies show that laughter substantially increases employee productivity and performance. In South Africa my colleagues are already providing laughter coaching and wellness programs to SASOL, ABSA, Ernst & Young, Accenture, Healthbridge, Gijima, Joint Prosperity and other companies.” “Laughter programs also help people living with HIV, cancer and life threatening illness.

Laughter therapy quickly increases the production of T cells which fight off cancer and infections. It also puts patients in a positive state of mind, allowing them to enjoy quality living and helping them to fight their illness.” Dr Patch Adams was one of the first medical practitioners to see the potential of laughter for good health. His work resulted in laughter therapy being introduced into thousands of hospitals, where it has been shown to speed healing. In South Africa, laughter therapy has been introduced by LaughSA into Gauteng hospices where it is having a positive impact on patients with HIV and cancer. “We have also trained care clowns for hospitals.” Another program improves health for senior citizens. “Laughter clubs are extremely beneficial for seniors,” says Gee.

“The impact on their health and wellness is profound. Once they start regular laughter sessions, their health and fitness improve dramatically.” Even clowns come for laughter training. “Last year I had a famous clown from London fly to India for laughter training” says Gee.

“It’s an occupational hazard. Many clowns lose their laughter, Fortunately we were able to help them recover their laughter.” Bill Gee offers corporate laughter sessions and is available for coaching and therapy during his visit. He has arranged to visit a local hospice for a workshop with patients. People wishing to be trained as laughter leaders are invited sign up for a 2-day intensive training course in Kenilworth on Saturday, 24 and Sunday, 25 May. Find tour venues and details at www.laughsa.com.

Contact Information:
LaughSA
www.laughsa.com
tel: 011 675 6952
fax: 011 675 6952
mobile: 082 516 7047
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bill Gee Bio: - International Laughter Master - Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher – Laughter Yoga International - Charter Member: International Positive Psychology Association - Member: International Association of Applied Psychology Bill spent the past two years in Mumbai working closely with Dr Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga as his deputy. During this time he was certified as Laughter Teacher and worked with Dr Kataria to redevelop Laughter Yoga International’s certification and training courses. He also rewrote the Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher training manuals. He has a strong interest in evolutionary psychology and positive psychology.

Bill has played a leading role in international laughter research and is responsible for a new understanding of laughter coaching and therapy, and also a ‘Unified Stress-Destress Theory’ which is the subject of a new book he is writing. He remains active in Laughter Yoga International, and with Dr Kataria’s support and blessings is developing new specialised applications and programs based on Laughter as Exercise, or LAX. Bill is currently in South Africa to develop and trial advanced laughter programs for corporates, the healthcare industry and for personal empowerment. He leads a development team in 12 countries working on advanced laughter education and certification programs and promoting laughter research.

While in South Africa he is speaking on laughter to promote public awareness and will conduct workshops and training in various SA cities. He also offers special training programs for hospice, social, and healthcare workers to promote the use of laughter in the care of patients with cancer, AIDS and life-threatening disease.

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