Ian is on a mission to prove laughter really is the best medicine

BARREL OF LAUGHS 'Ian Dickinson will run a laughter workshop in Havant in a bid to improve health.'    Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (110318-4)
BARREL OF LAUGHS 'Ian Dickinson will run a laughter workshop in Havant in a bid to improve health.' Picture: Ian Hargreaves (110318-4)
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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WHETHER it’s a ‘ho ho ho’ or a ‘ha ha ha’, Ian Dickinson is hoping to prove that laughter really is the world’s best medicine.

The 49-year-old aims to turn chortling into a pastime by launching his own laughter sessions in Havant.

Dr Madan Kataria

Dr Madan Kataria

Gleeful Mr Dickinson, who admits he giggles at anything and everything, says he wants to get more people laughing to make them feel happier.

Mr Dickinson, who has worked at Tesco in Havant for the past 10 years, will be holding free laughing sessions in Havant Park.

‘It all started 25 years ago in India,’ explained Mr Dickinson, of Blendworth Crescent, Leigh Park.

‘A doctor called Madan Kataria thought that if laughter is the best medicine, then he should try it.

‘He got in a park with some friends and encouraged them to laugh through jokes.

‘The jokes ran out, so he formulated a system of encouraging people to laugh without jokes.

‘His wife was a yoga teacher. She brought in this type of breathing which helps you to breathe properly while you are laughing.

‘It’s basically a form of exercise that encourages you to laugh to release endorphins.’

Mr Dickinson, a fan of slapstick humour and Fawlty Towers, loves to tell jokes, but says he will make people laugh by faking it.

The married stepfather-of-two, who has received training in laughter yoga, said as one person laughs it creates a chain reaction.

He said: ‘Fake laughter will end up being real laughter. There’s nothing wrong with faking it. The body cannot differentiate between real laughter and fake laughter.’

People will also be encouraged to explore different types of laughter.

‘You have a deep belly laugh “ho, ho”,’ said Mr Dickinson.

‘The chest laugh is “ha, ha”. Then you have “he, he” – that’s more a facial laugh when you snigger. “Hu, hu” is a more expressive laugh.’

Mr Dickinson said laughing has therapeutic benefits for stress-related conditions, but added: ‘It’s not a cure-all. It can’t take problems away. But it will make you feel better. People can just come along. There’s no membership or fee. You just come along to have a good laugh.’

Laughter sessions begin at 3pm on May 1 by the football sculpture in Havant Park and will be held every Sunday.

For more email ian.dickinson7@ntlworld.com.