Muscle Memory and Laughter
by Walter Ness
It was a story about Michael Jordan where I first heard the concept of muscle memory. A trainer told Michael that the new muscles he was building by weightlifting did not have the memory to shoot hoops and because of this his scoring accuracy would suffer. Michael found out that what the trainer said was in fact true and that the new muscle had to be educated through repetition.
Isn't it the brain and not the body that holds muscle memory? Daily we are receiving scientific reports of how different parts of the brain control different functions. It's safe to come to the theory that the part of the brain that interacts with muscles is responsible for muscle memory.
When you do micro movements, those are small movements controlled by a select muscle group, you can feel the part of the body you are causing movement in come alive. You can feel how the muscles seem to communicate with the brain for greater awareness of movement.
In the traveling laughter club it becomes very noticeable that people find it easier and easier to laugh after every exercise. Just as quickly individual participants can lose the connection to the ability to laugh by becoming, for better words, judgmental.
It doesn't take much to conclude that the laughter exercises shift you to that part of the brain that allows you to laugh, and if you disconnect by moving to another brain part for a more rational function you will lose your laughter ability.
When someone says, "I love to laugh!" this can mean that they have an easy access to that part of the brain that allows an easy access to laughter. The laughter clubs are about stimulating the laughter-to-brain connection through exercises, which is another way of saying, repetition.
There is a simple philosophy in laughter clubs that teaches you to develop the brain-to-laughter connection, "Fake it till you make it." If you pretend to laugh, that automatically connects the laughter muscles to the appropriate brain connections. Each new time you start to laugh the laughter becomes more and more natural till one day it's all natural laughter.
For more information about muscle memory go to the Howard Hughes Medical Research website www.hhmi.org