Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is Laughter The Best medicine?

Gino was described as a skeptic in today's Mind Your Body section of the Straits Times when he was asked by the journalist regarding the aerobic effects (or whether it can make you fitter) of laughter yoga.

The main muscle used when breathing is your diaphragm. And exercising your diaphragm can help with improving aerobic performances although devices like the Power lung are more commonly used.

I remember when Gino used to race he did a bit of inspiratory muscle training. Besides working full time as a Physiotherapist at the Singapore Sports Council, he was also a carded athlete receiving some support for his training. So like some other carded endurance athletes, he had access to a Power lung. I remember he used it while we were watching television at home occasionally.

There are also many studies supporting the use of power lung or similar models from other brands for inspiratory muscle training. Bear in mind the studies are on inspiratory muscle training and not the brand of the product used.

The respiratory muscles like your diaphragm, intercostals and abdominals are definitely used with laughter yoga. There may also be some benefits like decreasing stress and anxiety. There is an abstract of a research paper found in Pubmed on laughter yoga. This was done on patients awaiting organ transplant, none so far found on improving your aerobic capacity. You can see the abstract here.

The article is found today's Mind Your Body section of the Straits Times on pages 10-11.

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