|▲ Laughter therapist Gwak Soo-jung|
From a normal housewife to a laughter therapist
It was three years ago that Gwak started to proactively engage in laughter therapy. She married in her mid-20s but had to suffer a series of her husband’s failure in business followed by 13 years of fighting against cancer. Depression came to her as her companion alongside panic disorder and aphasia and she twice tried to kill herself to end the misery. As is often the case that bad attached with good, she came to know about laughter therapy by chance and it changed her life completely the other way round. “I was on the border of death or life and I was tired of drug treatment. Then laughter therapy came and it was like the savoir of my life” looked back Gwak. Straightening up her spirit on the power of laughter therapy, she studied the medicinal herbs that were known to be good for husband’s illness and he eventually recovered. “I then came to know that there was a job called laughter therapist. I dug the field straight away and now I’ve been working as a laughter therapist for 3 years.”
Laughter therapy for elderly
Laughter therapy is a therapy to reduce mental pain and stress. It can be applied alone or as an accompaniment of other therapies. Gwak is particularly focusing on using this therapy at welfare centers of public institutions to help elderly who wish to spend the rest of their lives in health and happiness. It is notable that Gwak obtained 10 certificates relating to silver exercise, singing, recreation, silver movement and anti-dementia in addition to laughter therapy; and she often uses pop music and children’ song in a way to break the ice by encouraging them to sing along and move along.
Review on regulation is needed
“The current law only allows the ages above 65 to work as a silver re-creator or therapist for the elderly. It is unrealistic as many of the certificate holders are far younger than that age. It is also notable that most elderly prefer young re-creators and therapists as they easily liven up the mood. So, there must be a review on the related regulations.” Nevertheless, Gwak is determined to carry on her passion in delivering health and happiness to elderly as long as her physical strength allows.
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