Laughter club in Traralgon

Laughter yoga leader Carolyn Nicholson says laughter is a necessary thing. photograph supplied

Laughter yoga leader Carolyn Nicholson says laughter is a necessary thing. photograph supplied

An alternate healer is in town from Melbourne's south-western suburbs and wants those who need a little extra laughter in their life to get in touch.

Carolyn Nicholson will be offering a free laughter club to the community while she stays in Traralgon for the next month or so.

For the unacquainted, it won't be about joining a conga line of John Cleese-style silly walks through Victory Park nor is it about strategically placing banana peels around the central business district.

It's a form of yoga designed to help people relax through laughter.

"It's not doing yoga exercises. We just do childlike movements ... and pretend laughter that leads to real laughter," Ms Nicholson said.

"Laughter club started in 1995 [in India] with Dr Madan Kataria and his wife. He found through research the body doesn't know the difference between pretend laughter and real laughter."

The classes involve some chanting of 'ho, ho, ha-ha-ha', clapping and breathing.

Ms Nicholson described the effect of the activity as filling the body with a "cocktail"of endorphins and other natural chemicals that make people feel good.

"They relieve pain and make you feel more confident," she said.

To the laughter yoga leader of 14 years, tears and laughter are very similar things.

"When you allow yourself to do either it's a release of that energy, because you can be laughing a lot and end up crying, or crying and end up laughing," Ms Nicholson said.

"But we become too serious over time ... and we really do need to laugh. Children laugh at anything.

"The mind might think it's all silly and want to walk away - I did the first time - but when we do the 'ho, ho, ha-ha-ha', everyone starts to lighten up because they can immediately feel the benefit of it."

Long-term benefits can include developing a sense of humour but the best outcome of all to Ms Nicholson, however, is knee-buckling laughter.

"Sometimes people laugh that much they fall down and can't get up and that's the greatest feeling ever," she said.

"That's the most beautiful way to be, totally relaxed ... in the moment, and that's what it's all about, and that's how children are born - being allowed to laugh."

To get involved, phone Carolyn Nicholson on 0413 821 636.

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