Recently, a laughter session was organized for members attending a seminar called “Unite against Cancer, at the Sacred Heart Center in Cebu city Philippines. It was an unusual morning workout session. Some 80 participants and their instructor Paolo Trinidad let out boisterous “hahahas” and “hohohos,” followed by prolonged laughter. The exercises were components of Laughter Yoga, a mixture of proper breathing techniques, facial exercises and “faking laughter” for cancer patients and survivors. “Laughter boosts the immune system. Cancer cells die with laughter. Laughter also has anti-inflammatory effects and a cardiovascular workout,” said Trinidad.
Laughter releases a chemical in the body called endorphin, which is a natural opiate. This relieves the pain for some patients. According to Paolo cancer is induced by high stress levels, but can be reduced with laughter, which lowers stress levels. If you laugh, cancer cells die and tumors shrink. The cells are oxygenated and carbon dioxide in the body is released when you laugh,” said Paolo. “The concept is laughing for no reason. (Did you know that) 20 seconds of laughter even if fake is equivalent to a 25-minute heavy workout? You would want a good workout,” he added. In fact, he has sought the support of medical practitioners, particularly oncologists and psychiatrists, to establish a “laughter room” in Cebu.
Oncologist Dr. Dennis Tudtud said the yoga session is now a part of the holistic care for cancer patients and survivors. The treatment goes beyond the administration of proper medicines and chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. “We focus on other aspects now. Giving patients an optimal quality of life is important,” he said. He said the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology has established a cancer survivor center at the Cybergate Mall on Fuente Osmeña.
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