LouiseCarolan­ishavinga laugh- inthename­ofhealth

Drogheda Independent - - NEWS - Fiona MAGENNIS

LAUGH­TER is the best medicine, so the old say­ing goes.

And lo­cal woman Louise Carolan cer­tainly thinks so and has made a ca­reer out of help­ing peo­ple im­prove their phys­i­cal and men­tal health through laugh­ter.

Louise, from Five Oaks, is a laugh­ter yoga teacher and has taught classes to groups as di­verse as pri­mary school chil­dren to 600 Ikea em­ploy­ees, help­ing them re­lieve stress, lower blood pres­sure and im­prove their ox­e­gen in­take - all through sim­ply hav­ing a hearty gig­gle.

‘It has been proven that ten min­utes of hearty laugh­ter will re­duce your stress fac­tors by 70% and one ses­sion of laugh­ter yoga will give two hours of pain re­lief so the health ben­e­fits are huge,’ ex­plained Louise.

The Mum of two will also be speak­ing at the up­com­ing Liv­ing With Can­cer con­fer­ence ex­plain­ing how ben­e­fi­cial the prac­tice can be for those go­ing through chemo­ther­apy and can­cer treat­ment.

‘Lots of the big can­cer hos­pi­tals around the world are start­ing to in­cor­po­rate laugh­ter yoga into their treat­ment plan,’ said Louise. ‘It’s a very stress­ful time when you get a can­cer di­ag­no­sis and ev­ery­thing that comes with it and it has been shown that stress can have a neg­a­tive af­fect on chemo­ther­apy treat­ment.

‘Peo­ple who have a di­ag­no­sis like this, they don’t have much to laugh at so in­tro­duc­ing the fake laugh­ter is a great way to help them to laugh even when they don’t have any­thing to laugh at. Stud­ies have shown that fake laugh­ter has the same pos­i­tive ben­e­fits as real laugh­ter and af­ter treat­ment peo­ple might want to live a lit­tle dif­fer­ently and not be so bur­dened by stress so it’s a great way to bring that into your life.’

Louise worked in in­surance for many years but left her high stress job af­ter hav­ing her sec­ond daugh­ter and sub­se­quently suf­fer­ing post natal de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

‘I did a mind­ful­ness course and I be­gan to re­alise that you could help your­self out of it with­out us­ing med­i­ca­tion, which I hated,’ said Louise.

She first ex­pe­ri­enced laugh­ter yoga dur­ing a mind­ful­ness course five years ago but thought no more of it un­til she came across a video of laugh­ter yoga on­line a cou­ple of years later and some­thing just clicked.

‘I thought, I re­mem­ber that, I’ll give it a try so I did classes in Dublin and I re­ally found it so ben­e­fi­cial for stress bust­ing.

I be­gan to re­alise that you could help your­self out of it with­out us­ing medit­ta­tion which I hated. I saw a video of laguhter yoga on­line and thought it was great. I did a lit­tle taster of it five years ago at a well­ness work­shop. I en­joyed it kind of wacky but for­got all about it.

Then I did the classes in Dublin, about two a half years ago. I thought I re­mem­ber that I’ll give it a try. I re­ally found it so ben­e­fi­cial for stress bust­ing.

The day af­ter my first class was when I no­ticed the real ben­e­fits be­cause I was laugh­ing at things I wouldn’t have found funny be­fore, it kind of teaches you to not be so se­ri­ous and look for the hu­mour in things.’

Louise was so im­pressed by the ben­e­fits she ex­pe­ri­enced, she de­cided to train as a laugh­ter yoga in­struc­tor.

‘It’s so sim­ple yet ex­tremely ef­fec­tive, any­one and ev­ery­one can do it. So I did that train­ing and I also did a health and well­be­ing course and a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life coach­ing course, just to give a well rounded ap­proach to the classes I teach.’

Af­ter a few prac­tice ses­sions with the group in Dublin Louise started teach­ing groups and in­di­vid­u­als in Drogheda and Na­van and has never looked back.

‘Some peo­ple had never heard about it and were in­trigued but oth­ers knew all about it. Fran­cis Bren­nan was do­ing a pro­gramme at the time trav­el­ling around and he had done a bit on it so they’d seen it there and were dy­ing to give it a go. I did ses­sions with teach­ers and then they asked me to come to the schools and do it with the kids. I’ve taught in busi­nesses, nurs­ing homes, women’s groups. I love go­ing to work ev­ery­day. It’s so di­verse, from chil­dren who are full of en­ergy they’d be run­ning around do­ing their laugh­ter ex­er­cises, to peo­ple in wheel­chairs who use it as a nat­u­ral pain re­liever.

For more in­for­ma­tion see Louise’s web­site www.step­stow­ell­ness.ie

Louise Carolan

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