By Sandra McNeill

DETROIT (WWJ) They say laughter really is the best medicine and WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that on this World Laughter Day — May 3 —  6,000 clubs in 65 countries around the world will engage in something called Laughter Yoga.

It’s based on research by India’s Dr. Madan Kataria that shows laughter may have benefits to cardiovascular health, the immune system and mood. Kataria began the clubs when he discovered it didn’t matter if the laughter was real or put on, because the body didn’t know the difference.

Ferndale instructor Laura Lerman of L.A. Wellness & Bodyworks said she was skeptical at first. “I said ‘Laughter Yoga,’ what the heck is that?” said Lerman. “I heard that was laughing for no reason and I thought that was pretty ridiculous.”

Lerman changed her mind when she read the research. “What it does is it moves the lymphatic fluid in the body,” Lerman said. “It helps the immune system to do its job.”

Lerman calls her class “controlled silliness.”

“We do ask adults to engage in childlike, playful behavior,” Lerman said. As an example, “You pretend you’re on the cell phone and you’re cracking up at something funny on the cellphone.”

She begins with Yoga mantras and deep breathing. Together she said, it releases those feel good hormones called endorphins that give you a runner’s high and improves your mood, too.

The goal of this World Laughter Day is World Peace. Lerman does not think that’s too lofty. “Laughter Yoga offers a community, a positive environment so that we can share positivity with each other,” Lerman said. ” And if you share it with one person at a time, that’s how you can change the world.

You can reach Lerman at 313-282-5402 or on Facebook.

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