Do you laugh 17 times a day?

    The average person laughs that many times. Are you pulling down the curve?

    Yes, I know—times are grim, a million people in the US have gotten the pig flu so far, Michael Jackson is dead, Farah, the Oxiclean Guy, Iran, etc.

    But still, people, we need to laugh in order to stay alive. Scientists have shown (to my satisfaction) that laughter triggers a better immune system, prevents cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and is like internal jogging. Plus—it’s way more fun that external jogging.

    Laughter as a therapy came to America several decades ago when an Indian doctor and yogi named Medan Kataria come to train some laughter leaders. Saturday Review editor Normal Cousins also credited funny movies with curing a degenerative disease he had.

    Now, there are Laughter Clubs (seriously) in nursing homes, retirement villages, therapists’ offices, and even the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where the director was informed that there weren’t enough laughs.

    Most clubs are out of the video business, and use the fact that laughter is contagious to set things off.

    They may start out with a laughter chant—ho ho ho hee hee hee…etc. This sounds so funny people start laughing for real.

    There is also the laughter greeting—go up to someone, shake hands, then burst out laughing in each other’s faces.

    There are other exercises…Ice Cube Down the Back—you simulate the screeches. The Roller coaster—hands up, screaming.

    To see if there is a certified laughter leader or club near you, go to

    Don’t laugh—I am thinking of trying this.

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