Laughter classes for Asberger's Syndrome and Autism SpectrumLaughingRx classes offer teens / young adults with Asberger's Syndrome fun, social interactions that incorporate essential social skills, communication skills and just basic experiences in a safe, fun environment.
Autism Spectrum classes for teens thru adults offer fun, social interactions, exercise/movement, while participating in a creative, laughter-filled group experience.
Nira has a great deal of experience bringing laughter to each individual within their capacity.
Testimonial: "Its' the perfect experience and exercise for the developmentally disabled"
Linda Yitzhak, Chaplain and Coordinator of mentally challenged adults group homes (JFGH).
LaughingLaughingRx for Cancer Patients / Cancer Survivors and their families
LaughingRx holds classes for cancer survivors during and post treatment. Classes are adapted to the participants needs.
Nira Berry, founder of LaughingRx is a breast cancer survivor herself and has used the power of laughter for many years to manage her pain when needed, boost her immune system and to promote a positive outlook and feeling of overall well-being
Testimonial from a LaughingRx cancer patient class participant:
"I just had a miracle!" Louise L. said to everyone in Nira's LaughingRx class at The Wellness Community, Bethesda, Maryland, May 2, 2008.
I haven't been able to bend my right knee to sit down or stand up for the past two years. I've had so many treatments that haven't worked. I've had water removed from my knee, I've had cortisone shots, nothing has helped me. After 1 hour class with Nira and participating in her LaughingRx class, I am able to stand and sit down without any pain. I am able to stand and sit down using my right knee! It's miraculous. I've always heard that laughing is the best medicine, but this is a miracle. This will change the quality of my life. I can't wait to get to the next LaughingRx class with Nira."
Nira Berry recently has been a key-note speaker several times for Suburban Hospital's Breast Cancer Symposium for several hundred breast cancer patients and survivors. "The audience was roaring with laughter and gave me a great feeling that I was helping these women and men in their healing journey." Nira Berry
Laughter Yoga and Cancer
The number of people suffering from cancer is rising constantly. Scientists say the most common cause of cancer is stress. Extreme physical, mental and emotional stress weakens our immune system.
Scientific studies have proved that hearty laughter has a powerful and immediate strengthening effect on our immune system.
Laughter quickly increases immunoglobulin levels that help fight infection and increases the number of Natural Killer Cells (NK cells) in the blood. Natural killer cells play a key role in cancer prevention. Scientist/researcher, Dr. Lee Berk took blood samples from subjects watching humorous videos and found that natural killer cells increased significantly with laughter. The NK cells in blood samples from laughing subjects quickly killed cancer cells he introduced into the samples.
The Healing Effects of Laughter in Cancer Patients
When someone is struck with cancer it leads to intense stress and fear.
How can laughter yoga help? Laughter exercises as a physical intervention leads to real physiological and biochemical changes in our body that have a profound effect on the development of cancer, reduces anxiety, and helps you cope with life
Laughter yoga provides a non-intellectual path to laughter. Cancer patients may be in emotional turmoil and become depressed, making it difficult for them to achieve laughter through intellectual stimuli like humorous videos. Laughter yoga approaches laughter as a body exercise that can easily be done regardless of mood.
Laughter helps counter stress and fear. Hearty laughter causes the brain to release chemicals that reduce stress within minutes. It is typical to measure a 70% reduction in stress indicators after just 10 minutes of laughter.
Laughter promotes a positive outlook. Hearty laughter quickly counters depression and negative outlook, especially when practiced within a group of peers. This is partly due to chemicals released by the brain and partly caused by a powerful emotional response to the group dynamics of laughter yoga.
A positive mental state is very important when a person is fighting a deadly disease.
Nira's Laughter exercises helps you deal with pain. Hearty laughter causes the brain to release endorphin, a natural morphine that is also responsible for the ‘runner’s high’. A typical laughter yoga session can provide several hours of pain relief without drugs, making it easier for patients to retain full control of their mental abilities and keep their spirits high.
Laughter oxygenates the body. Ten minutes of hearty laughter super-oxygenizes the body and all major organs. Ongoing cancer research shows a strong relationship between oxygen in our cells and the development of cancer.
Nobel Prize winner (twice in the field of medicine) Dr Otto Warburg has shown the strong connection of oxygen in the cells to health. He says we fall sick due to lack of oxygen in our body cells. The lack of oxygen is due to poor breathing habits caused by stress and negative mindset. This causes us to breathe shallow, irregular breaths and hold are breath when under stress.
Nira's LaughingRx laughter yoga exercises uses a combination of laughter exercises and yoga breathing to train our diaphragm and abdominal muscles to breathe deeply. This increases the net supply of oxygen to body cells and can play a significant role in preventing cancer by increasing oxygen levels in the body cells.
Letter from Australia
Greatly inspired by Laughter Yoga Clubs I started to laugh all by myself every day after meditation. The laughter exercises include chants of Ho Ho, Ha Ha and deep breathing. I also do these exercises even while walking. I allow myself to be spontaneous and childlike and make funny movements. I even sing some positive affirmations like:
I am happy tee hee hee; I am free tee hee hee; I am healthy tee hee hee; I am strong tee hee hee…
Regular practice of laughing alone has had a tremendous effect on my health condition. Though suffering from a tumor for some time, I can feel it getting smaller. Even my specialist was amazed when he realized it had shrunk remarkably. He canceled the radiotherapy and said,’ I am happy to keep an eye on it for now. I really believe it’s laughter, meditation and positive affirmations that have worked so wonderfully together.’
I also think laughter is anti-aging. Though I’m 60 I feel very energetic, there is less pain and I can easily do a lot of things. People remark I look much better and younger! -Des Nicholson Melbourne Australia
Letter from USA
I am a Registered Nurse and had breast cancer 4 years ago. I became interested in laughter yoga as part of my recovery. I can personally confirm that the laughter has helped my immune system, has helped me maintain a positive attitude and pull myself out of a negative state and that yogic breathing has been important in my recovery. I have been cancer free so far for 4 years now. I have not had a cold or been sick in 20 months so far. I have been doing laughter yoga regularly for 2 years. - Marlene Chhertok USA
Organizations, Agencies and Businesses can contact LaughingRx for special programs
weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly classes available for your group.
LaughingRx for Seniors
LaughingRx is easy and safe and provides a simple form of exercise that can be done completely in a chair or standing.
LaughingRx is simple to catch on and is appropriate for everyone, regardless of their cognitive and physical abilities.
It's a wonderful experience that the elderly can share within a group and gives them a wonderful social group interaction as well as sense of well-being.
Classes are tailor-made specifically for the elderly while making it fun for all!
In the LaughingRx program, seniors seem to gain a more positive outlook and reduced depression symptoms. Health improves, many chronic ailments disappear, the exercise improves mobility and staff-patient communication and relations also improve.
People with senile dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s show remarkable improvement.
I'm Interested. What's the Next Step?
Nira Berry can provide classes for the elderly weekly or bi-weekly. Caretaker classes / seminars available.
Nira's LaughingRx Laughter Exercises Helps Cope With Physical Disabilities
Physical health of a person is an important parameter to measure mental health. It has a strong influence on personal efficiency and performance, well-being and capacity for self-regulating thought and action, self-confidence and relationships.
A physical impairment can lead to severe mental trauma and stress which counters wellness. People suffering from a physical disability are prone to negative feelings and emotions that undermine their rationality and gives rise to confusing mindset regarding their own image and capabilities. They undergo an all time low and sensations of self pity and self worthless set in.
Nira Berry's LaughingRx Laughter Yoga exercise routine is the best medicine and the most powerful tool to manage pain and distress. It has the ability to elevate the mood state by releasing endorphins, a ‘feel good’ hormone that alleviates pain and provides a feeling of comfort and safety.
The concept is the fastest growing trend in the world that helps people to cope with their physical and mental disabilities. It a simple exercise routine developed by Dr. Madan Kataria that works on the body and the mind simultaneously. It effectively combines the tenets of yogic breathing with laughter exercises to provide enormous health benefits. Many practitioners have reported a remarkable improvement in their physical condition and flexibility.
How Laughter Yoga helps to cope with physical disabilities
Mobility: Mobility sometimes gets partially or severely restricted due to disease, injury and pain. Being a physical exercise, LaughingRx Laughter yoga helps mobility especially if one is rendered physically incapable due to injury and or disease.
Many people with a physical disability are unable to move parts of their body without regular physiotherapy exercises to keep their body moving. Due to low mental functions, they were not following physiotherapy commands properly. After laughter yoga they are much more compliant with physiotherapy commands, which have led to notable physical improvement in their motor functions.
Pain: Laughter Yoga triggers the release of a natural opiate called Endorphin into our bloodstream. This provides immediate pain relief typically lasting for 2 hours. It can relieve headaches, muscular and joint pain and is powerful enough that a number of practitioners have undergone surgery using laughter instead of anesthetics.
Anger: It can be overwhelming trying to understand why you have to deal with something that can be so difficult and seem so unfair. ‘Why me?’ is a nagging question in the mind. Trying to live with disability can be really frustrating and leaves one dependent on people.
Laughter Yoga is an ideal exercise that helps one to accept the disability and provides relief from feelings of negativity.
Sadness or depression: People find it hard to express their feelings and emotions and they get chronically depressed. Laughter Yoga exercises have made them much more expressive and joyful and helped to lift their depression.
Feeling scared: It’s natural to experience a certain amount of fear in the face of physical disability. But when this fear takes on an unbearable dimension, it can lead to severe damage to the psyche.
Laughter Yoga provides an immediate feeling of safety and security. This may be due to the effects of endorphins, natural opiates and more potent than morphine. It helps to overcome fear and anxiety and generates more positive emotions.
Stress or anxiety: Any form of disability is a cause of immense stress and anxiety. Frustration anger, aggressive behavior and irrational logic overcome the power of reasoning.
Laughter has been shown scientifically to provide a substantial and immediate reduction in stress levels as it lowers stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and enhances the levels of health hormones and neuropeptides that alleviate the negative symptoms of stress within minutes.
Shock and denial: Physical incapacity can put people in a state of shock and trauma. There is not just the physical pain but a mental denial that can lead to blockage of feelings and an inability to express one’s emotions freely.
The group dynamics of Laughter Yoga leads to more openness and helps people to share their grief. The exercises and the deep breathing relax the body and the mind and assist one to accept reality. Laughter clubs are a safe haven for people to release their inner feelings without fear and pain. Laughter catharsis is a great technique for emotional release and balance.
Read about LaughingRx in the Washington Post and Gazette newspapers:
Gazette Newspaper article: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008
Laughing yoga participants tout practice's health benefits
by Andrew Ujifusa | Potomac Gazette Newspaper Staff Writer
The inventors of yoga thousands of years ago probably did not envision plastic camouflage helmets, conga lines, and Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" as part of the routine. But Nira Berry doesn't particularly care. In fact, she'd probably laugh them off.
Berry is a teacher of laughter yoga, a series of role-playing exercises and relaxation routines that allow people to laugh out loud without trying to crack jokes. She even has an arresting motto for newcomers who don't think they can force their way to authentic guffaws: "You fake it until you make it."
"You don't need to have a sense of humor to laugh," Berry told about 50 participants, mostly newcomers, at a laughter yoga session at Suburban Hospital on Dec. 9.
Berry's routine consists of four components: laughter, clapping, breathing and "childlike playfulness." The exercises range from simply waving one's arms back and forth while chanting "Ho ho, ha ha ha!" to multi-step routines that incorporate laughter into physical imitations of morning routines. When participants mime spreading shaving cream on their faces, they giggle and pretend to smear the stuff on their neighbor's cheeks. They even mock the laughter of co-workers.
At one point, Berry stands on the stage, divides the group into three laughing styles of "Ho!" "Ha!" and "Hee!" and, just like a comedic Kurt Mazur at the New York Philharmonic, waves her arms rhythmically over the crowd and prompts different cadences and patterns of laughter.
The group then moves from the orchestral to the downright absurd, donning piratical hats, wigs and Hawaiian leis and forming a conga line that parades down the aisles and through the seats for more than five minutes to the strains of "Celebration." Participants are told to stomp on imaginary everyday problems and cackle derisively. Every routine is punctuated by Berry's infectious laughter.
Veterans of laughter yoga are particularly bold, bellowing out grotesque and twisted forms of merriment that in turn draw out the laughter of more cautious participants, creating a mutually reinforcing echo chamber. At one point, Berry flubs a line in her yoga rap song, sending people off on a new round of laughter.
"It's crazy, isn't it?" Iris Andris of Bethesda whispered in the middle of the recurring "Ho ho, ha ha ha!" chant.
Only the 15-minute deep-breathing and body-awareness routines at the end of the session recall typical yoga. But Berry touts the various health benefits of the practice, which was started by an Indian doctor in the mid-1990s. Ten minutes of sustained laughter, she claims, is the cardiovascular equivalent of 30 minutes on the exercise bike and boosts endorphin levels.
She leads laughter yoga exercises for a wide variety of groups, from University of Maryland students to corporations looking for creative team-building exercises.
Berry, whose business is called LaughingRx Yoga, got interested in laughter yoga during a bout with cancer eight years ago. During her recovery, when friends asked her if she wanted anything, she said she asked for things that made her laugh, like the movie "My Cousin Vinny." The practice is also supposed to help people with allergies and asthma.
"I was looking for an alternative way to heal myself," she said.
Andris said when she first heard about laughter yoga, she was skeptical. But after the one-and-a-half hour session, she felt relaxed and felt as if she had been through a real workout. She was also impressed with Berry's ability to overcome much of the group's initial timidity.
"It was amazing watching her bring us all together," she said.
Rockville resident Zohreh Movahed had done laughter yoga before, when her sister-in-law, an employee at the National Institutes of Health, told her about it. She said she was happy to laugh without worrying about offending people.
"When people start laughing, you realize you're not alone," she said.
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Live life laughing!
****Please consult your physician before starting any new exercise regimen or reducing your medication.