The Body Language of Laughter.

A look of surprise…bend the trunk…shake the head…clutch the abdomen…slap your thighs. What’s this person doing? Some sort of new age exercise program? Actually if you could hear as well as see them, you would realize that they are in fact laughing. Laughter is a whole of body experience.

The Laughter Quotient was created so that it can be administered by a health professional in the same way that a conventional medicine is. The doctor, nurse, or therapist, will be able to say “I want you to laugh in this manner, three times a day, for the next two weeks, and then come back to see me”.

But beyond the “numbers” that is the mathematical equation of the Laughter Quotient, there are other things that come into consideration to help people find their authentic laughter. They lie in the movement of the face and body.

To truly understand what to do with the Laughter Quotient people also need to know the Body Language of laughter.

Here are the BIG 5 body movements of laughter.

  1. Mouth. Contrary to all popular beliefs, the mouth, tongue, and pallet don’t actually move when we laugh. What does happen is that the mouth can change shape as it makes a ho ho ho, or a ha ha ha, or a he he he noise. But once the laugh has begun the mouth and associated parts stay that way for the duration of the exhalation. For this reason, it’s important to find your default mouth setting before you begin laughing to avoid stress on the jaw and neck.
  2. Face. There is a thing called the Duchenne Smile. This was aptly named by a French physician, and is really all about a genuine, compared to a forced, or fake smile. When searching for our “authentic laughter” it’s important to ensure the face has it’s “authentic smile” happening in conjunction with it.
  3. Hands. When we clap our hands it stimulates acupressure points in our palms that stimulate the organs of the body. It is therefore quite normal for people to clap their hands or slap their thighs when laughing. Children clap regularly when they are playing and in a state of joy.
  4. Head and neck and shoulders. As we breathe in prior to laughing, our head will tilt backward. This is to open the throat, as well as enable more air to enter our lungs. The head will then usually tilt forward to help expel the air, along with the shoulders jiggling up and down.
  5. Abdomen. Due to the dynamic movement of the diaphragm, many people will bend over when laughing or even clutch their core with their arms. This is helping the exhalation process. This is most noticeable when people are lying on their backs and laughing. They will sometimes roll onto their side and/or pull their knees in to form a fetal position. Apart from exhalation, this is to minimize pain in the muscles in the core region.

If you have any further questions regarding the benefits of the Laughter Quotient then please feel free to email me at at any time.

Merv Neal is a Laughter Yoga Master Trainer, CEO of Laughter Yoga Australia and New Zealand, and Director of Holistic Services Group. He has successfully owned and operated his own businesses for more than 43 years. He has created a Laughter Yoga Business Training Program, as well as the Business Mentors and Coaches Program, to help others to take laughter to commercial organizations, and/or to create a laughter business of their own. More information can be found at or He can be contacted on 0408552269 or