Clinical Research

LAUGHTER HEALS – LAUGHTER RESEARCH

SPECIFIC BENEFITS TO PATIENTS:

  • Reduces pain. In response to laughter, our bodies produce pain-killing hormones called endorphins.
  • Strengthens immune function. Laughter increases production of T-cells, interferon and immune proteins called globulins.
  • Improves respiration. Laughter increases pulmonary reflexes, lung volume and oxygenation of the blood.
  • Decreases stress. Laughter significantly lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol and returns the body to a more relaxed state.

SPECIFIC BENEFITS TO HOSPITAL STAFF:

  • Enables earlier patient release. Laughter speeds up recovery, which can help shorten hospitalization cycles, saving costs and enabling hospitals to serve more patients.
  • Improves patient comprehension and compliance. Research shows that patients who receive pre- and post-operative instructions in a more relaxed and light-hearted state of mind are much better at following those instructions.
  • Reduces patient anxiety. Laughter’s stress-reducing effects improve patient and family satisfaction and help defuse potentially confrontational attitudes.

US Studies:

1. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Reports: Humor and Laughter may Influence Health

(A) History, Background, Evidence-Based Findings

A basic background information, definitions and a review of the theoretical underpinning for this area of research.

(B) Complementary Therapies and Humor in a Clinical Population

The use of humor as a complementary therapy within various clinical samples, as well as evidence concerning how a sense of humor influences physiological and psychological well-being.

(C) Laughter and Health Outcomes

How laughter influences health outcomes; including muscle tension, cardio-respiratory functioning and various stress physiology measures.

(D) Humor and Immune Function

The final article to Mary Payne Bennett’s (Indiana State U. College of Nursing) and Cecile Lengacher’s (University of S. Florida) Four part series: Humor and Laughter May Influence Health. It reviews the evidence for the effect of sense of humor, exposure to humor stimulus and laughter on various immune system components, with a focus on the effects of laughter on cell cytotoxicity.

2. Research from the University Of Maryland

(A) Laughter is good for your heart

“The old saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” says Michael Miller, M.D., F.A.C.C, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.”

(B) Laughter helps blood vessels

“Using laughter-provoking movies to gauge the effect of emotions on cardiovascular health, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have shown for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels. Laughter appears to cause the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, to dilate or expand in order to increase blood flow.”

(C) More research

More research of studies conducted on Laughter at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

3. Research from Duke University School of Medicine:

Laugh Mobile: A volunteer group that helps patients with Laughter.

Laugh Mobile is a volunteer group at Duke Medicine that works in Oncology Recreation Therapy, to provide therapeutic humor and assistance to the patients and their families.

3.UK Study:

Social Laughter is correlated with an elevated pain thresh hold

This peer-reviewed study found: “Although laughter forms an important part of human non-verbal communication, it has received rather less attention than it deserves in both the experimental and the observational literatures. Relaxed social (Duchenne) laughter is associated with feelings of wellbeing and heightened affect, a proximate explanation for which might be the release of endorphins.”

4.South Korean Studies

(A) The effect of laughter therapy on radiation dermatitis in patients with breast cancer: a single blind prospective pilot study

In a South Korean blind study, 37 patients with breast cancer were split into two groups: an experimental and the control group. The experiment group was given laughter therapy during R.T. and the control group was not. The radiation oncologist was blinded to subject assignment.

This is what they found:

“In the experimental group, radiation dermatitis of grade 3, 2, and 1 developed in five (33.3%), five (33.3%), and five patients (33.3%), respectively. In comparison, in the control group, radiation dermatitis of grade 3, 2, 1, and 0 developed in seven (36.8%), nine (47.4%), two (10.5%), and one patient (5.3%), respectively. The experimental group exhibited a lower incidence of grade 2 or worse radiation dermatitis than the control group (33.3% versus 47.4%). The mean maximal pain scores in the experimental and control group were 2.53 and 3.95, respectively. The experimental group complained of less severe pain than the control group during RT.”

(B) Laughter and Stress Relief in Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study

A South Korean study finds the effects of laughter on breast cancer patients and how it lowers depression, anxiety and stress.

5. Iranian Study:

Laughter Therapy on the Elderly

The Ethics Committee of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran conducted a study with 80 enrolled elderly folks, 60 years of age and older, and used laughter therapy in control groups twice a week for 90 minutes.

“Laughter causes synchronized contraction of facial muscles, increases respiratory rate, blood flow and the release of adrenaline in blood and ultimately leads to joy and happiness. It is the cheapest medicine for preventing many diseases and fighting against them. Laughter also decreases the heart beat rate and blood pressure while it increases oxygen intake in tissues by making the individuals take deep breaths. Hence, laughter can benefit both mental and physical health.”

6. College of Family Physicians of Canada:

Laughter Prescription: The Future of Laughter in Medicine

An study by William B. Strean about how different studies have brought laughter into the realm of physical health and medicine — and where it will go.

7. Australian Report:

Laughter affects your Blood Vessels and Arteries

(1.) Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald

When we laugh we increase blood flow and decrease stress levels in the body.

8. WebMD Report:

Give your body a boost with laughter

“We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up and we breath fast, sending more oxygen to our tissues.

People who believe in the benefit of laughter say it can be like a mild workout – and may offer some of the same advantages as a workout.”