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Research shows that laughter has myriad health benefits, yet the medical community has not implemented it formally as a treatment. Patients awaiting organ transplantation have significant physical disabilities and are at risk for psychological distress. Attenuated heart rate variability (HRV) is a risk factor for a negative long-term outcome in some patients.
A recent research by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, showed that that laughter yoga improved HRV and some aspects of mood in patients awaiting transplants (three heart and three lung).
Laughing with friends for around 15 minutes boosts a person’s pain threshold by an average of 10%, an international study has found.
A research team led by evolutionary anthropologists from Oxford University in the UK has concluded that the endorphins released by a big belly laugh in a social setting can make pain more bearable.
Noting that previous studies had found laughter was more likely when in a group than when alone, the researchers conducted experiments where groups of participants watched comedy clips, including Mr Bean, or live comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A control group was shown factual videos like golf tournament footage.
After viewing, the participants were given pain tolerance tests such as seeing how long they could withstand cold, a tight blood pressure cuff or do strenuous exercise.
“We tested the hypothesis that social laughter elevates pain thresholds both in the laboratory and under naturalistic conditions. In both cases, the results confirmed that when laughter is elicited, pain thresholds are significantly increased, whereas when subjects watched something that does not naturally elicit laughter, pain thresholds do not change (and are often lower),” the researchers wrote in their paper, which was titled “Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold” and published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
“These results can best be explained by the action of endorphins released by laughter.”
We’re moving forward. Research now confirms that repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise. It is now viewed as valid alternative, initially less strenuous, activity to help frail people regain their appetite. Continue reading
Laughter can play key roles in group communication and group dynamics — even when there’s nothing funny going on. That’s according to new research from North Carolina State University that examined the role of laughter in jury deliberations during a capital murder case. The researchers were given access to the full transcript of jury deliberations in the 2004 Ohio trial of Mark Ducic, a white male charged with two murders and 30 additional counts, largely related to drug violations.
Here is a summary of the research:
“Laughter is one way of dealing with ambiguity and tension in situations where a group is attempting to make consequential decisions and informal power dynamics are in play,” Keyton says. “There are very few opportunities to see group decision making, with major consequences, in a public setting,” Keyton explains. “It is usually done in private, such as in corporate board meetings or judicial proceedings. But laughter is something that occurs frequently, and not only because something is funny. Nobody in the jury was laughing at jokes.”
Read more at http://www.sciencedaily.com
Researchers at Osaka University in Japan assigned 79 people between the ages of 40 and 74 to one of three groups. Thirty-two were assigned to a music group where they listened to music and sang with music therapists. Thirty participants participated in laughter yoga, which combines breathing exercises with laughter stimulated through playful eye contact, plus watched a traditional Japanese comedy show called Rakugo. Each session took place for one hour twice a week for three months. The remaining 17 were controls who neither listened to music nor participated in the laughter sessions.
- Workplace Efficiency: Laughter Yoga Enhances employees morale, resilience, and personal efficacy beliefs. This study measured the impact of a purposeful aerobic laughter intervention on employees’ sense of self-efficacy in the workplace.
- Workplace Stress: The Efficacy of Laughter Yoga on IT Professionals to Overcome Professional Stress. This study measured the impact of 20-minute laugh-yoga sessions on 200 healthy normotensive IT call- center workers in Mumbai, India. (a parallel study to this one is ”
- Effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognition and sleep among the community-dwelling elderly. This study investigated the effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognitive function, quality of life, and sleep of the elderly in a community.
- Laughter Yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed women: a randomized controlled trial. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of Kataria’s Laughter Yoga and group exercise therapy in decreasing depression and increasing life satisfaction in older adult women of a cultural community of Tehran, Iran.
- Bio Psycho-Social Impact of Laughter Therapy on Stroke Patients. The study comprised 120 laughter therapy sessions using various laughter techniques, pranayama (deep yogic breathing exercises) and cognitive restructuring conducted on stroke patients between the ages of 40 to 90 in the Verulam Frail Care Community. It was done by Dr. Gita Suraj Narayan, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Work and Community Development, University of Kwazulu-Natal.
- Laughter and music could lower your blood pressure. This one was done in Japan and published in 2011.
- Effects of a laughter and exercise program on physiological and psychological health among community-dwelling elderly in Japan: Randomized controlled trial
- Effect of Laughter Yoga on Mood and Heart Rate Variability in Patients Awaiting Organ Transplantation: A Pilot Study
- The psychological impact of Laughter Yoga: Measuring Wellbeing in Laughter Yoga Clubs across Victoria, Australia
- The psychological impact of Laughter Yoga: Findings from a one-month Laughter Yoga program with a Melbourne Business.
We have heard of PhD students doing their thesis on Laughter Yoga (yes, you can get a Masters Degree or PhD in Laughter Therapy!) but have been unable to make direct contact. If you know about this please let us know and we’ll be most happy to post the information here. One level down, here is a 60 pages thesis that Vasiliki Skrekou from Greece wrote for her Masters degree at the Center for Applied Psychology (John Moores University, Liverpool, UK) on the Effect of Laughter Yoga Practice on the lives of Laughter Yoga Professionals.
We know of several individuals who have carried out their own Laughter Yoga research over the past decade, but since these have not been peer-reviewed and published in medical journals they remain within the field of empirical evidence.[spoiler title=”The Copenhagen study in a computer business”] Thomas Flindt led a daily session of Laughter Yoga at the beginning of each work day throughout the month of May 2004 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the sales staff of a computer company. It showed clearly the effect that regular practice of Laughter Yoga has on stress levels.
The study was made using an AIR-PAS (Artificial Intelligence Respiratory-Psycho physiological Analysis System), developed by Mr. Bo von Scheele, Ph.D., the Psycho physiological Institute at Karolinska Institute Stockholm, Sweden, and conducted by Mr. Anders Lonedal.
A test group of four persons was randomly selected. The group was tested with the AIR-PAS at the start of the project, and consequently at the end of the same project. On an individual level, the results were remarkable. The body stress levels significantly reduced. The AIR-PAS test contributes also as an awareness raiser, that is, the individual becomes aware about how the body and mind interact. The importance of a correct breathing behavior was also highlighted. Laughter itself has a positive influence on the movement of the diaphragm, as well as the levels of stress hormones in the body.
Laughter Yoga for Schizophrenia and Bipolar Depression Report on Delivery of Laughter Yoga for Day to Day Living in the Community (D2DL) Program at The Hut 104 Badajoz Road North Ryde NSW 2113, 3rd June – 28th October 2009[divider top=”1″] If you want to conduct a study out of personal interest here are two forms that may be of use and value to you:
Aim of the research: To investigate the effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognitive function, quality of life, and sleep of the elderly in a community.
Methods: Between July and September 2007, the total study sample consisted of 109 subjects aged over 65 divided into two groups; 48 subjects in the laughter therapy group and 61 subjects in the control group. The subjects in the laughter therapy group underwent laughter therapy four times over 1 month. We compared Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Short-Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) between the two groups before and after laughter therapy.
Conclusion: Laughter therapy is considered to be useful, cost-effective and easily accessible intervention that has positive effects on depression, insomnia, and sleep quality in the elderly.
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