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Natural Awakenings

Laughter Yoga: Benefits Belly Muscles

Feb 01, 2010 03:00AM

An experiment to assess the effect of laughter of yoga on back pain by sports science student Ulrich Rehm of Münster University, in Germany, turned up an encouraging conclusion. In conducting research for his Ph.D. thesis, he hooked up two healthy young men to an electromyograph (EMG), which measures strength, endurance and increases in muscle activity. Rehm monitored some of the abdominal and back muscles that are addressed by conventional strengthening exercises or even in sports physiotherapy.

First, his fellow students performed a series of conventional physiotherapy exercises on a mat for 30 minutes. Next, they performed another 30 minutes of laughter yoga exercises. The working conclusion was that, “Simulated laughter exercises engage as many abdominal muscles as conventional physiotherapy exercises, sometimes even more.” Initial findings are backed by overseeing professor Dr. Heiko Wagner, who teaches kinesiology at the university.

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