I have been working at Thailand’s Central Chest Disease Institute as a volunteer for six years. Five years ago, I pioneered Laughter Yoga combined with motivational exercises, self-image and talk as well as a great deal of love and affection with the staff and outpatients. This Love ‘n’ Laughter program was in instant hit, so much so that the numerous positive responses from the many hundred participants began pouring in.
I then took Laughter Yoga into the wards for pre and postoperative patients. The staff discovered that the postoperative patients were discharged more quickly when they participated in laughter programs. They reasoned that laughter increased their charge’s lung capacity, reduced pain and produced endorphins as well as provided a more positive outlook. The preoperative patients were much less nervous about surgery and camaraderie grew in the wards between patient and staff. The head of the women’s ward is now affectionately known as Boss Har, har, har!
One day a television crew did a short spot on our program. In some of the footage an elderly lady was enthusiastically laughing from her bedside; when I went to hug and tell her that I loved her, she began to freely cry. She had a great emotional release and kept kissing me and thanking me for sharing such love and happiness with her. Little did I know that only moments later, after I left the ward, she quietly passed away. Her family called to ask for the footage and to offer thanks for making their mother’s last moments ones of love and happiness. It was my turn to cry! And now, I want to share the art of truly living happy lives through Laughter Yoga with others who suffer in hospitals and elsewhere.
Susan Dustin Hattan-Aldous (Dusty)
Post Office Box 173, Nonthaburi Post Office, Thailand, 11000
Skype: One Life at a Time