Laughing your way to health

Laughing your way to health

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas Medical Center treated area breast cancer survivors to a special retreat.

The one-day event was held to educate survivors about exercise and a healthy diet, and also to remind them that laughter is the best medicine.

We were introduced to a survivor as she was being introduced to laughter yoga.

Everyone enjoys a good laugh, and as it turns out, laughing is good for pretty much everyone.

Patty Evans is a breast cancer survivor.

"I was diagnosed almost five years ago. It'll be five years April 16.I was very fortunate. I didn't have to have radiation or chemo, but I did have both breasts removed. Five years down the road I'm doing great. I feel lucky and happy to be alive and I spend as much time as I can with loved ones, especially those grandchildren," Patty said.

Patty believes they've saved the best for last at this retreat: laughter yoga. It sounds a little dangerous; laughing with your foot behind your head, but it's not like that.

Shakha Stephen teaches it, and explains it started in India with fake laughter. You know, like when a friend tells a joke that you don't think is funny.

Stephen says even fake laughter can make your body think you're having a good time. He teaches a little chant and clap at first, but then he turns it up a notch.

Fake laughter turns real. And so do the health benefits, like working muscles and blood oxygenation.

"I've always believed that laughter is the best medicine so this is just confirmation," said Patty.

Eventually I figured I'd better try it, and yes, fake laughter becomes real eventually.

Clinical research in India and the U.S. has shown laughter lowers stress levels, as well as blood pressure.

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