Jokes are great, but you don’t need them to have a good laugh, said Ann E. Lunetta, of Belleplain in Dennis Township.

The 53-year-old is a registered nurse and certified Laughter Yoga teacher, who is promoting the health benefits of laughing as a type of meditative exercise.

“We do guided breathing, and laugh in many different ways,” Lunetta said. “We don’t (laugh) because there are jokes, but simply because there is joy.”

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She said the body benefits from laughter, whether it’s caused by a funny joke or “fake” laughter generated on purpose.

“It’s the same neurotransmitters ... the same endorphins secreted,” Lunetta said. “It’s excellent for pain management and well-being.”

Lunetta, who works for AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Galloway Township, first heard of Laughter Yoga at a nursing conference.

“It really just drew me in,” she said. She was already studying meditation, healing touch, and had built a 68-foot labyrinth of rocks and wildflowers in her backyard for walking meditation.

She and husband James Usilton, Jr., 55, who teaches baking and pastry at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College, got certified to teach Laughter Yoga last June.

Cape Regional honors service

Patrick Cookson, of the Environmental Services Department at Cape Regional Medical Center, is the Service Excellence of the Month awardee for March.

Nurse Melissa Bailey nominated him for leaving his dinner break to help her with a distraught husband of an emergency patient. Cookson lives in Whitesboro, Middle Township, with his wife, Tiffany, and their son, Gabriel.

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