Cancer patients at a public hospital in Manila were given a healthy dose of laughter on Friday (September 6), through an exercise which claims to improve the quality of life.
Laughter yoga is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter which practitioners say could provide the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughing.
Patients at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Centre were taught deep-breathing techniques and loud belly laughing, which often involve playful gestures and hearty humour with the other participants.
Pinoy laughter yoga founder, Paolo Trinidad, says even a 10-minute laughter can provide the best dose of medicine.
"When you laugh, it's really a natural stress buster, so by merely laughing, you're putting down the stress levels of a person. We are all aware that 70 to 90 percent of the diseases all over the world comes from stress. So we make them laugh, we get rid of the stress, we get rid of the cancer," he says.
Doctors at the hospital say laughing yoga is not a substitute for western medicine, but agree that it can help combat the stress and depression commonly experienced by cancer patients.
"There has been no statistically significant value to say that it can replace the main treatment, but it always had a positive benefits on the patient, and most importantly it's contagious. You don't need to, you don't need a way to give it away to other people. It's contagious by itself and there are no interactions, no negative side effects. So the universal positivity of it, I think, is the main reason why the west is also very open to laughter as complimentary medicine," says oncologist Vanna Javier.
The patients say it seems to be doing them some good.
It was the first laughter yoga session for the cancer patients inside the hospital, and doctors say they are considering adding more activities which provide a lighter outlook to help those fighting a serious disease.
Presented by Adam Justice