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Laughter Yoga Helps Cancer Patients in Manila

Cancer patients at a public hospital get a dose of laughter yoga, a breathing exercise that stimulates voluntary laughing. Practitioners of laughter yoga claim it can help relieve stress, and strengthen the immune system and promote a positive outlook in life. 2013-09-11 01:50 AM EST
Cancer patients at a public hospital in Manila were given a healthy dose of laughter on Friday, through an exercise which claims to improve the quality of life.

Laughter yoga is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter, which practitioners say could provide the same psychological and physiological benefits as spontaneous laughing.

Patients at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Centre were taught deep-breathing techniques and loud belly laughing, which often involved playful gestures and hearty humor with the other participants.

Pinoy laughter yoga founder, Paolo Trinidad, says even a 10-minute laugh can provide the best dose of medicine.

[Paolo Trinidad, Laughter Yoga Founder]:
"When you laugh, it's really a natural stress buster, so by merely laughing, you're putting down the stress levels of a person. We are all aware that 70 to 90 percent of the diseases all over the world comes from stress. So we make them laugh, we get rid of the stress, we get rid of the cancer."

Doctors at the hospital agree that laughing can help combat the stress and depression, commonly experienced by cancer patients.

[Vanna Javier, Oncologist]:
"There has been no statistically significant value to say that it can replace the main treatment, but it always had a positive benefits on the patient, and most importantly it's contagious. You don't need to, you don't need a way to give it away to other people. It's contagious by itself and there are no interactions, no negative side effects. So the universal positivity of it, I think, is the main reason why the west is also very open to laughter as complementary medicine."

The patients say it seems to be doing them some good.

[Anita Ferrer, Breast Cancer Patient]:
"It's very relaxing and it somehow removes all those negativities that we feel. That's what I feel when I laugh.”

It was the first laughter yoga session for cancer patients inside the hospital, and doctors say they are considering adding more activities which provide a lighter outlook to help those fighting a serious disease.

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