'Laughter yoga' tries to tap a natural resource for healing

Tuesday, May 4, 2010; C01

Catastrophic oil spill. Times Square bomber. D.C. murder sprees. Teetering global economies. Even a recall of your kid's medicine.

You need a laugh.

Don't see anything funny? Fake it -- you'll feel better anyway. Some researchers believe the body can't tell the difference between self-triggered laughter and real laughter so either is restorative physically and psychologically. Nira Berry became a believer eight years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "When I was going though treatment, I noticed that I just felt better after having a good laugh," she says. It was life changing. She got certified in "laughter yoga" and now pays it forward. She teaches Washington cancer patients and others how to tap into that natural -- or unnatural -- resource.

-- Photos and story by Linda Davidson

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