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No laughing matter!

08 Mar 2018

No laughing matter! Image

Local happiness guru and Southbank resident Merv Neal is taking his passion for making people laugh to the next level.

Merv has become a renowned local figure since establishing a weekly Laughter Yoga class at the Boyd Community Hub nearly four years ago.

While a weekly meet to laugh might sound all fun and games, Merv takes the science of laughter very seriously. As the CEO of Laughter Yoga Australia, Merv quite literally lives life through the old saying “laughter is the best medicine” and has now come up with a mathematical formula that can help prescribe laughter to patients.

According to Merv, the “Laughter Quotient” is the length of the laugh times the repetition, divided by the volume, times the pitch – in other words, the way in which one laughs can be significant in maximising the health benefits!

“The act of laughing depends on those four things, so the longer you laugh the more you exhale the toxins from your body, which actually allows your body to take in more oxygen,” Merv said. “The only way you’re going to take in more oxygen is to lengthen the laugh.”

“If someone needs to laugh in a particular way then the length is really important. If someone sits there and goes ‘ha!’ and then a minute later goes ‘ha!’ and so on then it’s probably not going to do much.”

“Whereas if they go ‘hahaha’ then it makes a substantial difference because it’s the physical act of laughing that’s important.”

As a leading expert on how laughter impacts on human physiology, he said the new equation was the first of its kind in that it focused on the act of laughter rather than the stimulus.

While we all know laughter helps to stimulate those “happy hormones”, Merv said research was now being conducted by the likes of Monash and Deakin universities to prove that there are certain types of laughter for healing certain illnesses.

“If you need to heal from something we’ll actually have a methodology to determine the best type of laughter for that person to actually practise to gain the maximum healing,” he said.

“Cancer, for example, is very related to oxygenation of the cells in the body and there has been plenty of information that says if you’ve got oxygen in the cells of your body it promotes better health than if you don’t.”

“Through our evidence, our equation will be able to allow us to prescribe the best type of laughter that we could administer for oxygenation.”

Merv hosts his popular laughter yoga classes at the Boyd Community Hub every Tuesday night at 6pm and new participants are always welcome.

For more information on laughter yoga and current research studies visit laughteryoga-australia.org

 

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