Nira Berry
Nira Berry    

Nira Berry & LaughingRx in the News

Nira Berry with Dr. Lee Berk, scientist

 LaughingRx & Nira on TV, Internet & in Newspapers!


ABC news interview of Nira on laughter & corporate team building


Nira interviewed on TV about Happiness & Laughter:

Nira interviewed on Chinese TV - recently  Ntdtv hourly news 3.17:


recent newspaper I'm quoted in USA Today:

***  In the news:  Watch Nira Berry and LaughingRx on Youtube :


ABC News TV WSILTV of Nira Berry:

ABC News TV interview of Nira Berry: interview of Nira Berry:

Readers Digest, Asia:  TV interview: 

Montgomery Magazine  January 2013 issue "A day in the life of a laughter yoga teacher"   

Esperanza Magazine  December Fall  2012 issue - coping with anxiety and depression   title:  LaughterRx- using laughter to cope 

Gazette Newspaper       Oct. 24, 2012:                                                                                                    

Bethesda Magazine:   Dec. 2011  2011/Gotta-Laugh/

*** Nira Berry was selected to be a key note speaker at International Laughter yoga conference in San Diego, California,  September 21-25, 2011.  Nira (of laughingRx) will give a 3 hour Continuted Education Credit CEC presentation on:  Laughter and Healing for nurses and social workers, and general public is welcome.  Also Nira will give a 1 hour presentation on: Laughter with developmentally disabled adults.  more information and registration:

*** Nira Berry was quoted in article on the benefits of laughter in the workplace (link below):

***  Nira was selected to be on a NIH panel & led interactive laughter presentation at NIH forum: Humor and Healing, with scientist, Dr. Lee Berk and 2 other world renowned laughter experts. Nira often quotes Dr. Berk's studies on the health and well-being benefits of laughter.    April 5th 2011

***   Nira Berry, of LaughingRx, was featured on Canadian TV (CTV) national evening news,in a program showcasing how laughter can reduce high blood pressure and improve your overall health,  October 2, 2010.    Here's the link:

***   Nira Berry, of LaughingRx was featured in a news story on TV about Lee Jeans National Denim Day, Oct. 1, 2010.  Here's the link:

***     Nira of LaughingRx was recently on the cover of the Washington Post Style section, June 2010:   Here's the link:


***    Nira's LaughingRx program for Shady Grove Hospital was featured as a cover story on FoxNews TV, June 2010:  Here's the link:


***   Nira /LaughingRX was interviewed and filmed for an International TV piece on Laughter Yoga:


***  Nira was interviewed for LaughingRx for a news segment on  WUSA9 TV.   

A recent LaughingRx class is featured in this interview by WUSA9 TV  morning news anchor Andrea Roane.  

Aired:     Date:  June 5, 2008 and June 2009  and 2010

To watch the interview click on link below, then once on page, click top right box on WUSA9 TV page to start video:


Gotta Laugh

This article appears in the November-December 2011 issue of Bethesda Magazine:
Gotta Laugh      A Potomac resident yuks into good health
By Leah Ariniello                      

Nira Berry laughs. A lot.

A chronic chuckler who gets the most mileage out of every giggle, the Potomac resident often throws her head back and lets loose a roar.

What’s so funny? Everything. Nothing. “I can just pull it out of my pocket when I need it,” she says.

For Berry, 52, these expressions of joy sprout from an unlikely source—illness.

Following a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2001, she began seeking ways to ease the pain and weakness she was experiencing from the treatments. That’s when she came across research suggesting that laughter can affect stress, pain, mood and even the immune system. From that point on, she began forcing herself to laugh for at least a few minutes every day.

“It was awkward at first,” she says, “but I noticed I felt better after, so I continued to do it more and more.”

Berry became such a believer in the power of laughter that she put aside work in business management and promotions, and traveled to Switzerland in 2007 to become certified in laughter yoga by Madan Kataria. A physician from India, Kataria had founded the laughter yoga movement in 1995, replacing traditional yoga poses with activities that promote laughter and feelings of well-being in participants.

Shortly after her return, Berry started the company LaughingRx. She made a DVD, Laugh Off Stress, and now conducts hundreds of interactive laughter presentations each year for Suburban Hospital, Booz Allen Hamilton, the National Institutes of Health and other clients, as well as for the public at venues such as The Promenade Towers in Bethesda.

Berry hasn’t had a recurrence of cancer. She says she feels healthier and less stressed overall, and rarely even catches a cold.

“Laughter made a big difference in how I survived that part of my life, and now it really helps me deal with life in general,” she says. “I just feel happier.”

What She Does:

Rises and Laughs
Berry laughs for at least 10 minutes after she wakes up, starting with laughter
exercises. She might repeat “ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” to the tune of a song, let out a high-pitched “hee, hee, hee” to mimic a baby’s laugh, or unleash the deep “ho, ho, ho” she imagines a gorilla might make.  
It doesn’t have to be “a real laugh to get the benefits,” she says, “but often I’ll fake a laugh and it turns into a real laugh.”
The Payoff: “I feel ready to take on the world.”

Finds the funny throughout the day

* When someone’s laughing, Berry always asks what’s funny and joins in.
* She likes to act silly—dancing with her dog, for example.
* She revisits laughter triggers, such as a friend’s funny laugh stored on her cellphone.
* She only watches comedies. “If I’m going to pay money to see a movie, I want to laugh and feel good at the end,” she says.
The Payoff: A day filled with laughs. That way “I don’t take everything so seriously,” Berry says, “making my life more joyful.”

Laughs at Stress  
If she’s in a tense situation, whether stuck in traffic, preparing her taxes or about to speak before a large audience, Berry finds something to giggle about.  
The Payoff: Sayonara, stress. “Everything loosens up,” Berry says, “and my body gives a big sigh of relief.” Even after the death of her mother, “I forced myself [to do laughter exercises] and it really got me through it,” she says.

Stays Social

* Berry surrounds herself with “laughers” who take a lighter view of life.
* At least once a week, during an extended meal with family and friends, she shares her most recent funny stories.
* She leads hour-long group laughter sessions or “laughter yoga” at least twice a week, at which everyone engages in a series of activities, such as laughing together while repeating “ho, ho, ha, ha, ha” in a conga line.
The Payoff: “It really maximizes the effect when you laugh with others,” Berry says.

Leah Ariniello is a Bethesda-based writer who frequently writes about health issues. To suggest future subjects for this column, email


TV article on website:            Interview by Andrea Roane, WUSA9 TV morning anchor 

BETHESDA, Md (WUSA) -- There's absolutely nothing funny about cancer. Just ask Nira Berry. "Unfortunately for me a mammogram didn't pick up my breast cancer tumor I found it myself."

That was in 2001 the mastecotomy plus the chemo were so deblitating she couldn't get out of bed. She would have to carried even to go the bathroom. That went on for almost a year until she discovered lauging yoga. Nira told 9 NEWS NOW Andrea Roane, "Sometimes I couldn't even move but I would force myself to laugh and I would see my belly going up and down and that would some how relieve my pain."

The laughing yoga movement started 10 years ago in India. Seeing how it worked for her Nira became a certified laughing yoga instructor to help other breast patients and survivors laugh away their pain and stress.

Many of her class participants thought it would be fun, not even realizing just how much it would help their health too. One class participant Diana Keller tells us, "Every time you laugh you are using so many muscles people just don't realize how many they are using."

Nothing funny to make you laugh. Nira says fake it! Your brain can't tell the difference, so just start with a chuckle and build on that. If you laugh a 100 times in a row it has been scientifically shown to equal to being on a stationary bike for 15mins?

To learn more about Nira Berry's Laughter Yoga sessions check out her website

 Washington Post Newspaper    Page GZ05           Dec. 18, 2008

Title: In This Yoga Class, Relaxation Is a Laughing Matter

   ...and    Gazette Newspaper                         Dec. 17, 2008

Laughing yoga participants tout practice's health benefits

By Andrew Ujifusa, Gazette Staff Writer

The inventors of yoga thousands of years ago probably did not envision plastic camouflage helmets, conga lines or Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" as part of the practice. But Nira Berry doesn't particularly care. In fact, she probably would laugh them off.

Berry teaches laughter yoga, a series of role-playing exercises and relaxation routines that allow people to laugh out loud without trying to crack jokes. She has a motto for newcomers who don't think they can force their way into authentic guffaws: "You fake it until you make it."

"You don't need to have a sense of humor to laugh," Berry told about 50 participants, mostly newcomers, at a laughter yoga session last week at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Berry's routine has four components: laughter, clapping, breathing and "childlike playfulness." The exercises range from waving one's arms back and forth while chanting "Ho ho, ha ha ha!" to multistep routines that incorporate laughter into physical imitations of certain routines.

When participants mime spreading shaving cream on their faces, they giggle and pretend to smear the stuff on their neighbor's cheeks. They also mimic co-workers' laughter.

At one point, Berry stands on the stage, divides the group into three laughing styles of "Ho!" "Ha!" and "Hee!" and, like a symphony conductor, waves her arms rhythmically over the crowd, prompting varying cadences and patterns of laughter.

The group moves from the orchestral to the absurd, donning pirate hats, wigs and Hawaiian leis and forming a conga line that parades down the aisles for more than five minutes to the strains of "Celebration." Participants are told to imagine they are stomping on everyday problems and cackle. Every routine is punctuated by Berry's laughter.

Laughter yoga veterans can be bold, bellowing out twisted forms of merriment that draw more cautious participants into the laughter. At one point, Berry flubs a line in her yoga rap song, setting off a new round of laughter.

"It's crazy, isn't it?" Iris Andris of Bethesda whispered in the middle of the recurring "Ho ho, ha ha ha!" chant.

Only the 15-minute deep-breathing and body-awareness routines at the end of the session recall typical yoga. But Berry touts the health benefits of laughter yoga, which was started by an Indian doctor in the mid-1990s. Ten minutes of sustained laughter, she says, boost endorphin levels and are the cardiovascular equivalent of 30 minutes on a bike.

She leads laughter yoga exercises for a variety of groups, including University of Maryland students and corporate executives looking for creative team-building exercises.

Berry, whose business is called LaughingRx Yoga, said she became interested in laughter yoga during a bout with cancer eight years ago. During her recovery, when friends asked whether she wanted anything, she said she asked for things that made her laugh, including the movie "My Cousin Vinny." The practice is also said to help people with allergies and asthma.

"I was looking for an alternative way to heal myself," she said.

Andris said she was skeptical when she first heard about laughter yoga. But after a 90-minute session, she said she was relaxed and felt as if she had been through a workout. She said she was also impressed with Berry's ability to get the group to overcome much of its initial timidity.

"It was amazing watching her bring us all together," she said.

Rockville resident Zohreh Movahed had done laughter yoga before, when her sister-in-law, an employee at the National Institutes of Health, told her about it. She said she was happy to laugh without worrying about offending people.

"When people start laughing, you realize you're not alone," she said. 

 Link to Washington Post Newspaper article:



Washington Post Express Newspaper    excerpt from article published: 10/14/08   

FIT Section

Take the Laugh Track

...Although movement has a role in laughter yoga, it bears little resemblance to the mat-based exercise most familiar to Americans. But the practice, also known as Hasya yoga, has Indian roots — Mumbai physician Madan Kataria is credited with starting the international craze — and emphasizes the importance of Pranayama, the Sanskrit concept of "breathing control." The seriously deep breathing required for extended laughter in turn promotes heart health, which is just one of the many benefits fans attribute to the practice.

Nira Berry, who teaches a similar method through her company, LaughingRx (, 240-888-6555), credits it with helping her through cancer and chemotherapy by improving her mood. "Laughter really is the best medicine," she says, noting that doctors believe it can boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and zap away stress.

Group giggles do wonders for team building ("It's hard to be angry with someone you've been laughing with," Berry notes), and learning tricks to incorporate an occasional laugh can make life more enjoyable. "In traffic, instead of cursing, try to laugh," she suggests.


O, The Oprah Magazine          From the January 2008 issue of O 
By Sara Reistad-Long

Yoga is another moving meditation known for its restorative powers. "Growing research shows that mindful exercises, among them yoga, decrease both stress hormones and metabolic rate," says Sat Bir Khalsa, PhD, a neuroscientist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. One yoga spin-off might be particularly effective for the exhausted and burned out: laughter yoga. "After your first session, you'll feel happy and energized. Give it at least a month, and the hormones and endorphins you're producing will start to heal your body of ailments from asthma to depression," says Mumbai physician Madan Kataria, MD. He developed the practice 12 years ago, and it is now taught in more than 5,000 laughter clubs in 53 countries.

Kataria says that when you bust up over something funny, your body releases a whole cocktail of feel-good neurochemicals. One of them, for example, is melatonin (associated with relaxation)—at least according to a study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, which reported that levels were raised in the breast milk of nursing mothers. To see if a laughter club is for you, Kataria suggests trying a quick exercise: Smile as you stand with your hands palms down in front of your hips. Slowly raise them while changing your smile to a grin, then to a chuckle (hands at chest level), deepening into a belly laugh (hands at shoulder level), as you toss back your head to open the airways. Let the laughter build into an uproarious guffaw as you extend your arms into the sky in a Y, as though you're sending your joy out into the universe. You'll probably have to fake it at first (you'll feel silly, so a bit of natural laughter will creep in). It may be easier with another person or a group—start by making eye contact, which tends to get you giggling. When you're through, take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for two counts, and exhale. Repeat the whole sequence a few times, and notice how you feel after five to ten minutes.


Nira of LaughingRx at National's Baseball Stadium Field!

Nira was on 1st Base at the Washington National's Baseball game, Sunday, May 10th, 2008, just before meeting 1st Baseman Aaron Boone!   Nira is a National Survivor volunteer Board member of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and she was one of the 'starting 9' at the game honoring breast cancer survivors.


"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."

-Audrey Hepburn


<a href="">Laughter workshop leader, Wellness Speaker, Coach</a>I

Contact Nira Today!

Nira Berry 

The Happiness Coach

LaughingRx, President 



240 888 6555

Uplifting & Fun!


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  • Sophie Novinsky (Monday, July 11 16 10:24 am EDT)

    Hi Nira, my colleague Meghann Schwartz met you over the weekend, and I wanted to contact you. I do programming for a number of women engagements for the Jewish Federation in Howard County, and I'd
    like to get more information about what you do. Specifically, since we are very small with a limited budget, what do you charge? Hope to hear from you.

  • Robert Benjamin (Thursday, August 27 15 01:09 am EDT)

    Thank you Nira for your uplifting laughter program for our annual meeting! Everyone was smiling for hours following!

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