Are we avoiding pain or seeking pleasure with laughter?

As humans, we seek pleasure or wish to avoid pain. But which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The answer is simple. It depends on where we are, at any particular point in time. For example, if we are in pain then we want it to stop. And it’s not until it does, that we are in a position of being able to seek pleasure. So when we laugh and do laughter exercises, or attend a laughter session, what we are seeking is relevant to that point in time.

The first thing that I do when people come to my laughter club is to get to know a little about them, but most importantly understand “why” they have come along. This brings up another perspective in that some are merely inquisitive. They have heard about this laughter stuff, or read about it, or seen video footage, and now want to experience it first hand. What they take away is the “pleasure” that it provides, without actually seeking this in the first place.

The Laughter Quotient focuses on easing the pain. This is what we call Laughter Therapy. Laughter Therapy is used when the individual has a known medical ailment that they want to treat. With any illness, there is a degree of emotional, mental, physical, or social pain. Understanding where they are at and why is critical to how the laughter should be administered, knowing that everything takes time

To truly understand what to do with the Laughter Quotient we need to know how laughter as therapy works.

Here are the BIG 5 points about laughter as therapy.

  1. Treat the symptoms. Health professionals diagnose an illness according to the symptoms. Their job is to then remove the symptoms to make you “not sick”. For this reason, there has to be an understanding of how laughter works from a scientific perspective.
  2. Administer directly to the ailment. The type of laughter that is prescribed needs to be of the type that targets the direct cause. If it’s relative to the immune system, then that is what had to be boosted or regulated, especially in the case of autoimmune diseases.
  3. Administer regularly. The laughter has to be practiced regularly over a period of time. Depending on the ailment, this is usually several times a day for a period of around a week. The length of each session is relative to the disease, and the limitations that that person may have.
  4. Check for effectiveness. The symptoms then need to be checked regularly to see that there is a reduction as a result of the laughter therapy. A temporary reduction in pain is seen as management and not treatment.
  5. Understand the initial cause. At the end of the day, any therapy is only effective if the disease doesn’t reoccur. What caused the high blood pressure? The cancer? The fatigue? When laughter is used to address this, then it becomes a wellness tool rather than therapy.

If you have any further questions regarding 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