Hong Kong is an Asian financial hub with 7 million residents or, to be precise, with 7 million stressed residents due to the soaring property prices, tiny living spaces and stressful work places. It is no wonder that the number of people in Hong Kong asking for psychiatric treatment increased 20 percent between 2007 and 2011.
In such a place, laughter clubs seem to be a promising business. Dick Yu, a 35-year-old trained hypnotherapist, set up Hong Kong’s first laughter club in 2007, after he discovered the concept of laughter yoga, which originated in India by the physician Madan Kataria in 1995.
Since then hundreds of Hong Kongers have signed up for free classes. “Ho ho, ha ha ha” is their mantra. They breathe deeply, give each other high-fives and move like penguins!
These clubs may be funny, but laughter is a real panacea: it helps expand blood vessel linings to increase blood flow, reduces stress hormones, boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s naturally produced pain killers. Laugh out loud, then!