What would you do if you saw a group of adults laughing at each other in the park? Initially, it may seem kind of strange, but this is beginning to become a common sight with the increased popularity of laughter yoga. They say that laughter is the best medicine, but for those who deal with chronic jaw pain, laughing may seem like the last thing they want to. Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ, can be crippling for those unfortunate enough to deal with it on a daily basis. It is marked by a number of painful side effects such as jaw pain, migraines, and difficulty chewing to name just a few. Even though laughter may trigger some jaw pain associated with TMJ, its overall benefit on the body may actually be worth it. So what exactly is laughter yoga, and can it help patients who are dealing with TMJ?
Laughter yoga was developed by Dr. Madan Kataria as a method of exercise that can help bring people together through laughter. The key to his concept is that the body cannot differentiate between forced and natural laughter. Typically the session is started by establishing eye contact between precipitants, and initiating childlike playfulness and forced laughter. As the session progresses, the hilarity of the situation quickly transforms the forced laughter into natural laughter. This laughter, combined with deep breathing exercises helps bring higher levels of oxygen into the body and brain.
With the rate of opioid addiction amongst chronic pain sufferers on the rise, there has been an increased interest in alternative methods of pain management. Laughter has been shown to release endorphins that can actually increase your threshold for pain tolerance. Laughter yoga adds the extra benefit of not only being outside in a group setting, but also combines yogic deep breathing exercises which can help calm your mind as well.
Laughing With TMJ
Depending on the specific symptoms, laughter yoga could offer some benefit and pain relief for TMJ patients. It is important to note that the benefits of laughter yoga are best when combined with other forms of TMJ treatment such as relaxing the jaw muscles and adjusting a misaligned bite. If you or a loved one is dealing with TMJ and would like to speak with a TMJ dentist, please consider visiting Dr. Siegel at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell. TMJ is no laughing matter, please give us a call at (610) 272-0828 to schedule an appointment today.