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Healing by Laughing

Is Laughter Good Medicine? Have you ever simply felt better after having a good laugh? Although until very recently, we did not have any reported, randomized controlled clinical trials completed that validate the therapeutic efficacy of laughter; we do have some indirect “evidence” that laughter therapy, as an adjunct therapy, may indeed assist in alleviated many symptoms, including depression and anxiety.

And now, we do have one recent research study that did indeed reveal positive potential for the use of laughing therapy as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of depression. [i] This study reveled positive results with a geriatric population of woman in Tehran, and supports the worthiness of continued study of this field. Below is a brief summary from an article titled No laughing matter: Laughter is good psychiatric medicine that can be found in Evidence Based Reviews section of Current Psychiatry. [ii] You will likely be convinced that yes, laughing is good medicine.

In addition to this study, this webpage’s article elaborates on several more investigations into the benefits of laughter. For example, there is a study showing helpful physiological changes in people with diabetes. Another study reveals that a good sense of humor and who laugh more are correlated with less cardiac disease. Finally, there are case studies that suggest the use of laughter might reduce the intensity of chronic pain.

The same article describes studies three studies that suggest the use of laughter therapy for depression has positive benefits. The first one reveals a lower rate of depression for geriatric patients who participated in laughter groups. The second one compared geriatric patients who participated in different types of groups and the ones that attended the laughter group experienced both elevated mood and reported increased life satisfaction. Finally, a study on the neurophysiology of laughter and the effect of laughter on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis suggests that not only does depression reduce the frequency of laughter, but laughter reduces the severity of depression. They report also explains that laughter increases the connectivity of patients with people in their life, and this further reduces the symptoms of depression. I suggest reading the article that describes these studies for yourself, go to the URL that is cited below. There you will not only find enlightening descriptions of these studies, but they also have a thorough reference list.

Now that youa re convinced that laughter is Good Medicine; we will take deeper look at Laughter Group Therapy- and you might even consider joining a laughter group. This may have been a rather serious look at laughter, be we will definitely lighten up soon J

[i] Laughter Yoga versus group exercise program in elderly depressed women: a randomized controlled trial Mahvash Shahidi1 , Ali Mojtahed2 , Amirhossein Modabbernia2 , Mohammad Mojtahed2 , Abdollah Shafiabady1 , Ali Delavar3 and Habib Honari3 1 Department of Counseling, School of Psychology & Training Sciences, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran 2 Student Research Office, Research Deputy, Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, Iran 3 Faculty of Psychology, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran Correspondence to: M. Shahidi, PhD, E-mail: [email protected] y Assistant Professor, PhD of Counseling.

[ii] http://www.currentpsychiatry.com/home/article/no-laughing-matter-laughter-is-good-psychiatric-medicine/c450d9ae6b44750f80d5dc9200c2db9a.html

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