LAUGHTER was the best medicine when more than a dozen people took part in an alternative yoga session.
Healing Opportunities in Roker Park Road, Sunderland, held a workshop where visitors could sample the benefits of the therapy.
Lead by advocate Keith Adams, of the Laughter Network, the session used movements and fake laughter to release endorphins and give people the feel good factor.
“We fake it until we make it,” said Keith, who runs laughter yoga classes with his company Laughter Aspirations.
“The whole thing is play. It’s about going back to our childhood, so we do childish actions and make noises that invoke laughter.
“Laughter stops us from being ill and stressed. We try and get people to let go and have sessions now and again to get rid of any stresses they have.
“I think there is a very big need for it, and people come in who do need a laugh.
“I hope I will be back in Sunderland. This is the second one I have done here and it has been great.”
About 13 people took part in the class at The Quaker House as part of the Healing Opportunities open day, where visitors could also have a free health check and try therapeutic treatments such as raiki and Indian head massage.
Valerie Chilton Smith, 59, of Seaham, tried laughter yoga for the first time.
“I used to do a lot of drama improvisation work and in many ways this was similar,” she said. “There are benefits I think such as ice-breakers to get people warmed in a group setting, and there is a good physiological benefit.
“I feel better after the session. It shows that laughter is contagious.”
Pauline Fraser, assistant manager at Healing Opportunities, said: “I’ve done the therapy a couple of times before and it’s always interesting to see how different people get into it and to see people relaxing and enjoying themselves.
“If you hear laughter anywhere, it does make you laugh.
“We are trying to get out there and find different things we can do, and this could be something we come back to.”