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World Laughter Tour

Social worker’s four-year drive to prove that laughter truly is the best medicine has finally brought her international recognition.

Dr Gita Suraj-Narayan, 56, and her daughter Sheroma, 26, from South Africa, received the IBN Tilmeez award for the best healthcare management research study at the combined 7th Annual Pan-Arab Critical Care Medicine Congress, 3rd Asia-Africa, World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine Conference and 7th Emirates Critical Care Conference in Dubai in April.

They researched the benefits of laughter therapy for stroke victims.

Their work has impressed the members of the social welfare department at Ryukoku University Junior College in Japan so much that they intend to use their techniques of laughter-yoga to help people deal with the shock of the recent earthquakes in Japan.

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5 great news articles that can make your day

I wish I had time to blog and expand on this, and I don’t.

Here are 5 great articles in this week’s news about Laughter Yoga:

  • “Laughter” yoga no joke. This one comes from Florida and has a video.  Teacher Pat Conklin takes laughter seriously. “I’d forgotten how to laugh, pretty much forgotten how to laugh.” She used to be a stressed out grant writer dealing with chronic pain and depression. “Laughter Yoga took me out of that deep dark place, to a much more hopeful, positive, optimistic place and it brought joy back into my life.”
  • For heart transplantee, laughter is best medicine. Linda Levier is 70. She had a heart transplant 7 years ago. She attributes her miraculous recovery in great part to Laughter Yoga.
  • Laughter-yoga classes touted as calming aid for mind, body. This one is from Columbus, Ohio. Here is a gist: “It’s like an endorphin cocktail for me,” said Spirit Sky, 64. “I feel refreshed and so much lighter.”
  • The pursuit of happiness. This is about “DIY Happiness”, a series of eight workshops for 320 women from different 20 boroughs of London, England. When it comes to promoting wellbeing and mental health, a holistic approach can often be more beneficial than ‘treating’ individuals.
  • Laughter therapy is no joke. Whoever said laughter is the best medicine was on the right track. The nurses and caregivers at the Matlosana Hospice and Khaya Tshepo Paediatric Palliative, a day-care centre in Klerksdorp (South Africa), cannot start the day without a big belly laugh. “We have seen tremendous change in many caregivers who do the laughter [therapy]. Unlike the others, it is immediate, it works much faster to create a dramatic increase in happiness, and it is the caregivers themselves who run it,” Jaffer said.

10 Academic Research on Laughter Yoga

This page is a summary of the 10 most relevant current academic research on Laughter Yoga specifically, known student thesis and private (not published) research projects that we currently know of:
  1. 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.
  2. 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 ”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Laughter and music could lower your blood pressure. This one was done in Japan and published in 2011.
  7. Effects of a laughter and exercise program on physiological and psychological health among community-dwelling elderly in Japan: Randomized controlled trial
  8. Effect of Laughter Yoga on Mood and Heart Rate Variability in Patients Awaiting Organ Transplantation: A Pilot Study
  9. The psychological impact of Laughter Yoga: Measuring Wellbeing in Laughter Yoga Clubs across Victoria, Australia
  10. The psychological impact of Laughter Yoga: Findings from a one-­month Laughter Yoga program with a Melbourne Business.

Student Thesis

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.

Unpublished Studies

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:


Learn Laughter Yoga and Laughter Wellness online!

Research validates years of worldwide empirical evidence: Laughter therapy is a useful, cost-effective and easily accessible intervention that has positive effects on depression, insomnia, and sleep quality in the elderly

Research Title: Effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognition and sleep among the community-dwelling elderly
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.

Laughter Therapy Takes Off in South Korea

An hour of weekly laughter was good enough for Jung-Oak Lee, 64, to fight off depression that coincided with two years of chemotherapy to treat her colon cancer. Every Friday afternoon, she travels almost two hours to join about 100 other cancer patients and families in a packed hallway of Seoul National University Hospital, one of Korea’s largest, to learn how to guffaw.

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Get a Masters Degree or PhD in Laughter Therapy!

The University of UKZN in South Africa is offering both a Masters and a Doctoral degree in Laughter Therapy. Here is more info about it:

Who qualifies?

  • For the Masters Degree: you need to have an Honors degree in either Social Sciences, Psychology or Social Work.
  • For the PhD you need to have a Masters Degree in either Social Sciences, Psychology or Social Work.
How To Find Out More
Interested students can direct their queries to Dr.Gita Suraj-Narayan
School of Social Work and Community Development
Social Work Program
Shepstone Level 7, Rm. A709
Howard College Campus
UKZN, Durban
Tel.+2731 [2607531]
E-mail: surajg@ukzn.ac.za
How To Apply

Scientific study provides evidence for the efficacy of Laughter Yoga in mental disorders

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.

News / Chicago Tribunes: Laughter yoga promises to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system

Adelle and Bernard Becker will take a hearty belly laugh from laughter yoga over playing bingo any day. “The feeling of laughing is therapeutic,” said Adelle Becker, 87. “Laughing until your eyes water, it’s just fun being in a group, doing the same thing at the same time and just acting like kids when you are in your 80s.” The couple call themselves groupies of the activity and regularly participate at Weinberg Assisted Living facility in Deerfield.
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News: Healing Power Found in Laughter Yoga

Whitney Munro did not think that as a fitness specialist and mother she had to take a class just to learn how to laugh. But she signed up for laughter yoga class and second-guessed herself all the way to the American School of Laughter Yoga in Chicago. Two days later, she returned home exhilarated, eager and certified to teach laughter therapy to the seniors she helps at Fairview senior living community in Downers Grove, Illinois.
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