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Laughter Yoga for Headache Relief: Easing Pain with Joy

Written and verified by Holly Hazen


The new buzz words this year seem to be around neuroplasticity and vagal tone. Both are ways to calm down the nervous system. The Migraine World Summit has covered this... calming it all down is huge right now. Laughter yoga does both! So why not try laughter yoga for headache relief?

Laughter Yoga is No Joke. It works @migrainesavvy

I've been doing laughter yoga for about 3 years now, and I've been studying brain plasticity for about a decade. Yes, it's been around for a while. Does this hold the key to headache relief? Can it truly help you reduce attacks? It is certainly fun enough to give it a test run imo!

Well, hold onto your migraine brain, because we're about to embark on a journey that takes an unexpected detour through the realm of laughter yoga. Imagine a world where adults – the most serious among us – embrace their inner child and let out uproarious laughter to combat the dreaded migraine attacks.

It's like a comedy show where the brain stars as the unwitting protagonist, falling for fart joke every single time. (Have you seen the new minion toys?)

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The Brain's Comedy Act: Giggles and Gags

Picture this: you're standing in a room full of adults, all contorted in laughter-induced poses, trying their hardest to mimic the laughter of their younger selves at age 3 or 4. As amusing as it sounds, there's scientific proof to this hilarious practice. The brain, that sophisticated control center, can't really distinguish between genuine laughter and the "fake it till you make it" kind.

That's right! So even putting a pencil in your mouth and walking around for a while will work!!!

Laughter Yoga for Headache Relief: The Surprising Partnership

Now, let's get to the heart of the matter – laughter yoga's intriguing potential to ease the onslaught of migraine attacks. It's not just about the breathing and laughter exercises; it's a full-fledged strategy to conquer those pesky headaches.

The brain's response to laughter triggers a cascade of positive effects that can potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes. It's almost like tricking your brain into releasing a squadron of joyous endorphins to combat the headache warriors.

The Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Headache Relief

  1. Laughter yoga (LY) can change your mood in moments – it raises endorphins. 10 % serotonin is made in the brain. And 80-90% of serotonin is made in your stomach. This is good for people suffering from depression.

  2. LY will strengthen your immune system and bring down stress levels. If you have chronic conditions, you will heal faster.

  3. Laughing increases oxygen to the brain. This increases performance. This means you can do more in a day.

  4. It will connect you to others. Research shows people with friends and close connections, community, live longer happier lives.

  5. Everybody can laugh when times are good – but how do you laugh when you are challenged? Regular practice of laughter yoga – having a positive mental attitude is a great benefit of LY – which no other exercise can give you. It will teach you to laugh in challenging times. [1]

Sustain your laughter for 20 minutes every day and this will benefit your health in profound ways.

The Euphoric Ripple Effect

A hearty laugh can instantly flood your system with a happy DOSE (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphin) of endorphins leaving you with a sense of well-being that's hard to replicate. This signals safety to the brain, and it just might change that pattern you have ingrained surrounding attacks. The brain is a pattern recognition organ after all. 


When I learned about timing and reducing stress - and learned it properly - that's when I got relief.


Armor of Laughter Against the Stress Dragons

Stress – the relentless dragon that often fans the flames of migraines – meets its match in the form of laughter yoga. As you engage in playful laughter exercises, your stress levels drop like coins into a wishing well. It's akin to suiting up in medieval armor, except this armor is made of chuckles and chortles.

Imagine stress as a pesky mosquito, and laughter yoga as your swift, laughter-fueled swatter. Bye-bye, stress!

If stress is your trigger, then laughter yoga for headache relief might just be your migraine escape route!

Unleash Your Inner Productivity Magician

If your brain were a magician's hat, laughter yoga would be the rabbit that springs forth with a burst of inspiration and creativity. Studies suggest that laughter can enhance cognitive function, sharpen your problem-solving skills, and even elevate your ability to think outside the box.

It's like having a magic wand that turns your mental fog into a captivating display of mental fireworks.

Who knew that giggles could be such a potent elixir for productivity and mental clarity?

Joining Forces: The Social Bonds of Laughter

Imagine stepping into a room filled with laughter yoga enthusiasts – a space that feels like a haven of joy. It does!! As you share in the laughter and playful exercises, something magical happens beyond the surface merriment. Laughter becomes a glue that binds hearts together, creating a profound sense of camaraderie and connection. It's like exchanging pieces of a happiness puzzle with those around you. These shared moments of laughter forge connections that extend far beyond the confines of what you first think of these silly meetings.

You might even find yourself naturally assuming the role of a joyful catalyst, spreading waves of contagious happiness within your social circle. Just imagine the smiles and chuckles rippling through the group – a reminder that in shared laughter, friendships blossom, and a sense of community thrives.

The sense of community can be desperately lacking if your migraine headaches keep you isolated. As they can often do. I found this a pivotal moment for change within myself, this feeling of being connected with joy and other people focusing on joy and happiness in their lives. Making it a priority.

Summoning Giggles, Rain or Lemon Storm

Think of laughter yoga as your ever-ready sidekick, equipped with an umbrella that shields you from life's stormiest blizzards.

Whether raindrops fall or lemons are thrown your way, a good laugh can turn the situation from gloomy to gleeful. It's like having a superpower that lets you smile in the face of adversity, and who wouldn't want to be a laughter-powered superhero?

There are so many virtual classes on zoom or YouTube... so rain or shine, you can laugh with others. 

Navigating the Sea of Laughter: A Personal Journey

Now that we've talked about using laughter yoga for headache relief and migraine reduction, let's take a moment to hear from individuals who have sailed these laughter-filled seas.

Meet Sarah, a migraine warrior who once dreaded the looming headache storms but found solace in the gentle waves of laughter yoga. "It's not just about the laughter," she says, "it's about the camaraderie and the sheer joy of letting go."

And then there's John, a true believer in the power of laughter. "When you're laughing like a child, you forget about the pain," he remarks. "It's like your brain and body are so busy enjoying the moment that the migraine gets pushed to the back seat."

These personal anecdotes echo the sentiment that laughter yoga isn't just a quirky exercise – it's a lifestyle that holds the promise of relief.

Printable Games for Seniors: It's Time to Play

While my focus here remains firmly on the magical synergy between laughter yoga and migraine relief, allow me to introduce you to a charming haven of amusement and my other website - FUN Printable Games for Seniors at Grannymaze.com.

It's a place where simplicity meets enchantment and fun, offering a treasure trove of engaging activities that can uplift the spirits of anyone really, but more so for seniors. For you young ones, that's over 55!

Remember, a hearty laugh induced by a well-played game can be just as therapeutic as a laughter yoga session.

Unlock the Laughter Within

So, can laughter truly be the key that unlocks the doors to migraine relief? Through the lens of laughter yoga, it's definitely a possibility. And there are over 400 studies now proving the benefits of laughter yoga. None done directly with migraine, but I urge you to play with the idea. Try it consistently for 20-30 days... please! It will feel silly at first, but you will reap the benefits for sure.

Now... we've journeyed through the brain's job to recognize patterns, explored the benefits of laughter, donned the armor of resilience, and introduced the potential for cognitive improvement. We've laughed our way into forging unbreakable bonds and even found solace in the face of life's sour lemons.

As I conclude this, remember that laughter yoga isn't about donning a clown nose and pretending to be a comedian. It's about embracing your own laughter – genuine, hearty, and unapologetic. It's about letting go of inhibitions and surrendering to the contagious joy that resides within us all. It's about reprogramming your migraine brain more towards happiness no matter what is looming. 

So go ahead, give laughter yoga a try, and who knows, you might just find yourself chuckling your way to victory against those persistent migraine attacks.

Until next time, be well and be pain free.

Until next time, be well and be pain free, Holly @migrainesavvy




Laughter Yoga for Headache Relief Page References:
1. Kataria, Dr. M. (2017) Complete LY Session Chapter 3. Available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeIBA9G6Z7w
2. Kataria, M. Dr. Laughter Yoga International LYI (2019) Certified Laughter Yoga Leader Training Manual. www.laughteryoga.org




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