The first scientific study (randomized controlled trial) to provide evidence for the efficacy of Laughter Yoga in mental disorders was published this month in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Findings showed that Laughter Yoga matched the efficacy of exercise therapy and even proved superior in improving life satisfaction.
Dr. Gita Suraj Narayan, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Social Work and Community Development, University of Kwazulu-Natal (and a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher!) recently proved that Laughter is a powerful form of complementary Medicine through her research and a series of Community Outreach Projects.
Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunologist, of Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, has paired with Stanley Tan, MD, PhD an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Oak Crest Health Research Institute, Loma Linda, CA, to examine the effect of “mirthful laughter” on individuals with diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic syndrome characterized by the risk of heart attack, blindness and other neurological, immune and blood vessel complications. They found that mirthful laughter, as a preventive adjunct therapy in diabetes care, raised good cholesterol and lowered inflammation.
In an observational study of 200 healthy normotensive IT call- center workers in Mumbai, India, 20-minute laugh-yoga sessions were associated with significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, Madan Kataria, M.D., reported at the American Society of Hypertension meeting.
In the study, half the volunteers participated in seven 20-minute “laugh groups” over three weeks, and the other half were randomized to a wait list and served as controls.
Mean baseline systolic pressure was 128 mm Hg in the laugh-yoga group versus 126 mm Hg in the controls. Baseline diastolic pressures were 82 mm Hg in both groups. Stress was assessed at baseline and after the intervention by cortisol level, as well as by the Positive and Negative Stress Scale and the Perceived Stress Scale.
After the treatment, mean systolic pressure decreased by about 7 mm Hg in the laugh group versus no change in the control group (P<0.01) and diastolic pressure decreased by 3 mm Hg versus no change in the control group (P<0.05), Dr. Kataria said.
Laughter, he said, was an antidote to stress and “these IT workers, although healthy, have very stressful jobs.” He noted that laughter was also associated with a significant reduction in cortisol levels (P<0.001).
At the same time, participants in the laugh group had an 18% improvement in positive emotions and a 28% reduction in negative emotions (P<0.001 for both) and a significant reduction in perceived stress scale score (P<0.01).
This study was presented by Dr Kataria at the American Society of Hypertension 2008 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LO.
Researchers at NTNU and St. Olav’s Hospital in Norway have found the first evidence in history that proves that a sense of humour reduces mortality. In January in a particular year, all patients with chronic kidney failure in Sør-Trøndelag County were invited to participate in the study. The patients were very ill and had to receive dialysis at least once a week, some every day, to purify the blood for substances that the kidneys would normally filter out into the urine. Without the dialysis, they would die. Approximately 80 per cent of these patients provided answers to questions regarding their age, gender, education, quality of life, and sense of humour.
A study from psychologists at the universities of Kent and Liverpool has revealed that laughter increases altruism towards strangers, a finding which may have important implications for charities and other fundraising bodies.
The study, conducted by Professor Mark van Vugt, Charlie Hardy, Julie Stow and Professor Robin Dunbar (University of Liverpool), was designed to examine if laughter acts as a social lubricant by enhancing a sense of group identity among strangers.
This study measured the impact of a purposeful aerobic laughter intervention on employees’ sense of self-efficacy in the workplace. Participants were 33 employees of a behavioral health center. They met for 15-minute sessions on 15 consecutive workdays and engaged in a guided program of non-humor dependent laughter.