It was a beautiful and joyful spectacle, not remotely associated with the stereotype of cancer-related agony, as tens of ladies of different age groups gathered to try out Laughter Yoga for the first time.
For the first time, the Breast Cancer Foundation in Egypt invited both cancer fighters and survivors to participate in a Laughter Yoga session, conducted by well known instructor Dr Ute Meinel, in Andalusia Garden, Zamalek.
"The main aim of these practices is to increase the endorphins that boost the immunity and decrease stress and depression related hormones, so we change the mood and boost the spirit, something needed by everybody and especially those engaged in something like the fight against cancer," Meinel said.
Dr Mohamed Shaalan, head of BCFE and professor of Oncology, Cairo University, stressed that the psychological factor is of utmost importance, and added that medical challenges are always facilitated by a boost of morality and a positive attitude.
Dr Abdel Hadi Mesbah, Professor of Immunology and fellow of The American Academy of Immunology reiterated the importance of a happy atmosphere for maintaining health and fighting diseases.
"It is a fact that laughter has a direct link with immunity level as it decreases the secretion of hormones that have a negative impact on immunity and increases the helping T-cells that are the maestro of the immune-system. Laughter and happiness activate the NK cells that are responsible for dealing with many viruses.
"Unfortunately it had been noticed that although a pre-school kid smiles and laughs around 400 times a day, the number drops to 15 times when he is thirty five years old," Mesbah tells Ahram Online.
"Researchers at the University of Chicago proved that joy and laughter increase the average life span of a person by eight years, and Japanese researches proved that we can even boost the immunity of babies who are breast fed and protect them if the mother is in a state of happiness and joy," he added.
Laughter Yoga is a cardio workout that brings more oxygen to the brain and the body, making its participant feel more healthy and energetic.
Laughter is an established immune system booster that is used worldwide to help people stay healthy, and support the healing process of many diseases like asthma, depression, allergies, migraines, backache, cancer, hearts diseases and many others.
The first Laughter Yoga worldwide was in India, where practitioners and doctors started narrating positive and fun stories to patients in hospitals in 1995. This developed into the now well known techniques of Laughter Yoga that involves many factors among which are of course laughter, as well as clapping and breathing regulations.
Edited by Mostafa Ali
Photo: courtesy of BCFE Photo: courtesy of BCFE