Biopsychosocial impacts of laughter yoga and therapy on stroke survivors.
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With limited resources and challenges facing health practitioners working with stroke patients, more creative and innovative interventions are required. Although it is normally only considered cliché that “laughter is the best medicine,” specific medical theories and documented research attribute improved health and well-being to laughter. This study examined the biopsychosocial impact of laughter yoga and therapy on stroke patients in South Africa. A quasiexperimental research design was used involving 2 groups. The laughter group participated in movement exercises using laughter yoga and therapy, whereas the control group participated in the same exercises without the laughter yoga and therapy. Physiologic tests were performed to measure the respondent's blood sugar levels as well as their blood pressure during the pretest and posttest. A pretest and posttest relating to the psychosocial functioning of the respondent's using the PANAS scale as well as a self-reported symptom checklist were administered. The results of the study indicated that laugher yoga and therapy had positive biopsychosocial impacts on the laughter group. Evidence of lowered blood pressure, lowered blood sugar levels, enhanced mobility, improvement in speech and increase in positive emotions, and enhanced social functioning was visible in the laughter group. There was no significant difference in the biopsychosocial functioning of the control group. Because laughter yoga and therapy do not require any specific equipment or resources, it was found to be the most economical, nonpharmacologic intervention for the stroke patients. In view of the therapeutic benefits, the researchers recommend that laughter yoga and therapy be used as complementary alternate medicine as well as be integrated into psychotherapy, psychiatry, and other biopsychosocial interventions for the prevention as well as treatment of stroke. Copyright © 2011 Published by Elsevier Inc.