POSTED: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 3:11pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 - 5:45pm

EL PASO - Laughter as medicine.

"The endorphins help aid depression and creates a feeling of peacefulness in the body.  You feel great after laughing."

Amissa Burton... a registered yoga teacher... combines the deep-breathing and relaxation of yoga with a healthy dose of chuckles.

"The stress relief you get, the physiological relief, the abdominal workout, the muscles in the face that are getting a workout.  You get this full-body workout just by doing these laughter exercises."

Burton claims this form of exercise can alleviate illnesses that are no joke.  She says laughter yoga clubs have become contagious... spreading to more than 60 countries since the first one began in 1995.

"They're very popular in the hospitals as therapy especially for people with terminal illnesses or going through grief support."

First-timer Veronica Carroll says she'll continue to learn how to turn that frown upside down.

"There's a lot of stress out there and you can always get rid of it by coming out here."

Burton says you don't need a sense of humor to participate... just a willingness to act a little silly.

"The minute you make eye-contact with someone else in the circle, that's what gets the whole ball rolling.  You want to interact with everyone else and once you kind of come out and start to interact and look around - because you can't help but look around at what everybody else is doing - you lose a little bit of that self-consciousness."

Now that's something to smile about.

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