#275 – Understanding Laughter as Medicine with Madan Kataria, MD


Madan Kataria, MD is the founder of Laughter Clubs International. We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. If you’re old enough you may recall Norman Cousins’ 1979 book, Anatomy of An Illness. Norman Cousins was the editor of the Saturday Review magazine and he had come down with a serious, life threatening disease and he decided to treat himself using laughter. I seem to recall that he checked himself out of the hospital and into a hotel room where he watched old Marx Brothers movies and Laurel and Hardy comedies. In other words, he watched videos that would get him laughing. To the amazement of his doctors, he was able to heal himself from this life-threatening disease. Are you getting enough laughter in your life? I recently read that “Children laugh an average of 400 times per day whereas adults laugh an average of 15 times per day” I don’t know about you but I do think that I laughed a lot more when I was younger. And I like to laugh. I used to do a lot of business travel and to keep myself from getting burned out on it, I would find the local comedy club. Today’s guest knows a lot about laughter. You may have heard of him. He’s a medical doctor from Mumbai, India who is known as the Giggling Guru and he’s the inventor of laughter yoga and has started thousands of laughter clubs around the world. His name is Dr. Madan Kataria and he’s been featured on Oprah and Time Magazine among others.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Maurine Pachter
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Please let me know how I can get the
    interview with Dr. Kataria and David Van Nuys.
    I teach preschoolers and will be doing laughter
    yoga with them. Thanks a million. !

  2. Moses
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Loved it. I’m 71 years old but there are no laughter clubs where I live. I think laughter can improve our health in many ways. I may have to do this on my own or with a friend over the telephone.

  3. Céline Bergeron
    Posted September 3, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Merci Dr. Kataria, since i laught my life change positifly. I have great time now to share with a groupe in Québec
    ( laurentides )…haaahaa :))

  4. Carlos
    Posted September 4, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Excelente, Congratulatios Dr. Kataria for this interview. For people who wants to talk with you can contact him at http://www.laughteryoga.org

  5. Lisa Shalfoun
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful to hear an interview with Dr. Kataria! I have not only heard about laughter yoga but also seen a broadcast on a German laughter yoga group quite a while ago. Living in Canada now, I often watch TV in my first language, German. The funniest thing I remember was when the group went to a local restaurant and started their laughter there. I seem to remember that it was quite contagious!

    I absolutely enjoy and always have to learn about the founders of a method of psychotherapy or something like laughter yoga, starting with Freud, Jung, Rogers and so on. So, this was another great occasion to hear from a founder of a method with big impact.

    I enjoyed to learn that Dr. Kataria is so altruistic and cares a lot about people all the way down to peace on earth. That\’s the future.

    I would like to mention that I had one of these “million dollar” ideas as well, many years ago. My idea was that there should be a “Positive Psychology”. I am sure I wrote it down somewhere. I was actually a little bit disappointed when I first heard of Positive Psychology for exactly that reason! Funny, isn\’t it?

    The reason I commented on this interview was that I found out that for me, in this place of many languages (Canada), I can best laugh about comedy in my mother tongue. On the internet I found the outtakes of a quiz show from Austrian TV where the candidates are all top comedians, a show I used to watch. I was laughing so hard that my teenage sons asked me to not watch the show when they were home. I am always laughing so much that I end up screaming and squeaking from fun and having tears in my eyes! And I haven’t had a cold in ages!

  6. Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I’m a laughter yoga professor, I studied with Doctor Kataria. I actually the director of french institut of laughter yoga and heath. Today, we have enough years of back and laughter yoga practice to be convinced of all the benefits of laughter yoga.
    Congratulations doctor Kataria

  7. omar
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic interview. I’m looking for a laughter yoga meeting in Copenhagen Denmark if anyone has any leads…

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