Humor Helps Dementia Patients – Laughter Wellness Therapy

Humor as effective as medication in treating agitation in dementia, research shows

Humour therapy is as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia – and avoids serious drug side effects, a new study shows.

The first major study of the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation, behavioural disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients found both short term and persisting decrease in agitation, according to lead researcher, Dr Lee-Fay Low, a Research Fellow in the School of Psychiatry at the University of NSW. The findings will be presented this week at the National Dementia Research Forum in Sydney.

The SMILE study across 36 Australian residential aged care facilities involved the recruitment and training of a staff member to act as a “LaughterBoss” who worked with a humour practitioner with comedic and improvisation skills – not unlike “Clown Doctors” used in hospitals to aid recovery and lift mood in children.

Jean-Paul Bell, the key humour therapist in the SMILE study, has set up the Arts Health Institute (AHI) to train humour practitioners and aged care staff. The AHI’s core program, Play Up, provides a playful relationship with residents and staff in aged care, focusing particularly with people with dementia. The AHI is now focused on translating the knowledge of the SMILE study into residential aged care and continues to work the DCRC to roll out this program nationally.

Dementia rates are expected to double to in the next 20 years in Australia to about 450,000, mainly due to an ageing population. About 6.5 per cent of people over 65 and 22 per cent of people over 85 have dementia – an umbrella term used to describe up to 60 different conditions causing similar neurodegenerative changes in the brain.

Between 70 and 80 per cent of people suffering from dementia are troubled by agitation, a problem for both patients with the disease and their carers.

“Agitated behaviours include physical and verbal aggression, wandering, screaming and repetitive behaviours and questions. This is challenging for staff and often indicates unmet needs and distress in the residents of aged care facilities,” says Dr Low.

The SMILE study found a 20 per cent reduction in agitation using humour therapy, an improvement comparable to the common use of anti-psychotic drugs.

“This shows humour therapy should be considered before medication for agitation, particularly taking into account its side effects.”

A major 2009 study for the UK Department of Health found serious side effects of antipsychotics, including thousands of deaths and strokes, linked to the use of these drugs in dementia and recommended a reduction in medication rates and specialised training for carers in non-drug therapies.

In the SMILE study agitation decreased not only during the 12 week humour therapy program, but remained lower at 26 week follow up. Happiness and positive behaviours rose over the 12 weeks of the program, however, dropped as soon as humour practitioner visits ceased.

The SMILE Study results will be presented at the National Dementia Research Forum 2011 on the 22nd and 23rd September. A documentary film, The Smile Within, produced by Hot Tin Productions and based on the SMILE Study, will also be screened.

This is the trailer for a 40 minute documentary The Smile Within. The Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses™ and ElderClowns (SMILE) Study is the world’s first high quality large scale research project that examined the effects of humour therapy on older people with dementia.

The primary aim of the SMILE study was to examine the effects of humour therapy on mood, social engagement and agitation. This 40 minute film documents the study, and follows comedian Jean-Paul Bell as he delivers the humour intervention to residents in aged care facilities.

We also meet staff from the aged care sector, family members of the residents and the academics and researchers who initiated and ran the study, Professor Henry Brodaty, Dr Lee-Fay Low and Dr Belinda Goodenough.

This heart-warming film provides a fascinating insight into how life can be improved in aged care facilities and shows we don’t stop living, till we stop breathing*. (*Jean-Paul Bell) The Arts Health Institute in Australia is now implementing this important research in residential aged care facilities. This program is called “Play Up”.

Full details can be found at http://www.dementia.unsw.edu.au/.

Source: www.unsw.edu.au

Laughter Good Medicine for Dementia Patients

Published September 29, 2011

Reuters

Laughter may be good medicine for elderly dementia patients — and best of all, it doesn’t have side effects.

Australian humor therapist Jean-Paul Bell was originally a clown doctor working with sick children, but now he makes the elderly laugh through a program called Play-Up.

Bell was also the key humor therapist in a Sydney-based study into the impact of humor therapy on mood, agitation, behavioral disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients, a study that showed those who took part seemed happier.

“The whole idea behind the Play-Up program and what we’re doing at the Arts Health Institute is encouraging them to play more because we believe that they’ve got potential to keep playing right until you take your last breath,” Bell said.

He set up the Arts Health Institute to train aged-care staff in fostering playful relationships with their patients, particularly those with dementia.

The study, called the SMILE study, took place over three years, involving 36 nursing homes and 400 residents.

Dressed in a bright blue jacket with brass buttons and shoulder tabs, Bell uses a combination of games, jokes and songs — accompanying himself on a ukulele — to get the elderly to laugh.

In addition to seeming more content, the dementia patients involved in the study seemed less agitated by 20 percent, said lead researcher Lee-Fay Low at the University of New South Wale’s School of Psychiatry.

“Twenty percent sounds like a small effect but it’s about the same amount, the same effect as you would get if you gave them an antipsychotic medication — medication you would use to treat schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder,” Low said.

According to the University of New South Wales, dementia rates are expected to double in Australia to about 450,000, mainly due to an aging population.

About 6.5 percent of people over 65 and 22 percent of people over 85 have dementia, an umbrella term used to describe up to 60 different conditions causing similar neurodegenerative changes in the brain.

Best of all, the dementia patients weren’t the only ones who benefited from the study.

“The staff were invigorated, they felt that their jobs were enhanced,” said therapist Joanne Rodrigues.
“They were part of something that they could see the real benefits (of).”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/09/29/laughter-good-medicine-for-dementia-patients/#ixzz2D4noK4mC

Laughter Yoga As Laughter Therapy

 
It has been scientifically proven that laughter is both preventive and therapeutic. People practicing Laughter Yoga regularly report amazing improvement in their health as well as a more positive mental attitude and higher energy levels.  The first thing participants say is that they don’t fall sick very often; the frequency of normal cold and flu reduces or even disappears. There are daily reports of partial or total cure of most stress-related illnesses like hypertension, heart disease, depression, asthma, arthritis, allergies, stiff muscles and more. While this sounds fantastic, it all makes perfect sense, as laughter is nature’s best cure for stress.
Most illnesses today are stress related and chronic stress attacks the immune system and makes us vulnerable to infections, virus attack and cancer. In fact, this is a major motive for people taking to Laughter Yoga.  You can feel the difference from the very first session.  You get energized; your mood changes and you feel great. With regular practice you can experience a big change in mental and physical health. Laughter Yoga practitioners are happier and healthier; they can cope with stress better, and have a positive outlook on life.
 

How Laughter Yoga Works As Laughter Therapy

 

The healing effects of Laughter Yoga come from following reasons. The immune system is the master key of health and if it weakens one is exposed to constant infection and sickness. Scientific research by Dr. Lee Berk from Loma Linda University, California proved that laughter strengthens the immune system by increasing the number of natural killer cells and increase in the antibodies. Dr. Kataria says, “Ever since I started the laughter clubs, I don’t suffer from cough, cold or sore throat anymore.”The disease process has two components according to Dr. Kataria – one is the organic disease itself; and the second is the mental component in the form of anxiety, fear and depression. Why people get therapeutic benefits from Laughter Yoga so quickly is because it removes the mental factor immediately and one finds an improvement in symptoms. Rest of the healing effects comes from increasing oxygen supply to the body cells, strengthening the immune system, increasing blood circulation and creating positive mental state.


http://www.laughteryoga.org This is an excellent DVD by Allan O’ Meara a certified laughter yoga teacher from Canada BC who has been trained by Dr Kataria. He has shown different techniques of doing laughter yoga session with seniors. He has also given important guidelines about conducting laughter session with elderly people while they are sitting on chairs

Laughter Therapy For Mental Health

 
A major causal factor of many illnesses is a person’s inability to express their feelings and emotions. People are afraid of reactions and conflict. As a result they suppress and hold their emotions which ultimately affect the immune system adversely leading to a variety of sickness. Laughter Yoga is a cathartic exercise which helps people release their blocked emotions in a non-violent way and makes them emotionally balanced. Bangalore research indicates that Laughter Yoga also helps to increase positive emotions and decrease the negative ones thereby promoting a healthy life.

Laughter Increases Mobility

 
Arthritis is often aggravated by lack of exercise and movement, particularly later in life with retirement and reduced physical mobility. Laughter Yoga provides a complete massage of all mid-body organs and is the most effective method to promote circulation in the lymphatic system. The combination of natural pain killers with movements in laughter exercises makes Laughter Yoga a powerful tool for physiotherapy. Many practitioners have reported reversal of ‘frozen shoulder’ and other movement limitations due to stroke, arthritis, and injury. Benefits of laughter have thus been recognized and prescribed. Belly laughter as practiced in Laughter Yoga is a great way of activating deep breathing facilitating better control of chronic diseases. Laughter is a safe, easy and economical method to enhance good health and longevity.

Laughter Wellness Therapy ~ Laughter Yoga

 

Seniors Humour Program ~ Seniors Laughter Wellness ~ Seniors Laughter Playday

 

 

Available In Atlanta, GA

 

Call Richard Taylor of Atlanta – Laughter – Yoga at 404-889-1923
Studied with Sebastien Gendry and uses Allan O’Meara’s Methods With Seniors.

 

Richard Taylor CLYL

Richard Taylor CLYL

Richard Taylor, CLYL, CLWI
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader
Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor

ATLANTA – LAUGHTER – YOGA5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 404-889-1923
Fax: 1-866-551-1253

Web: www.atlanta-laughter-yoga.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

Seniors – Institute For Aging Research

Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife

Today about one in eight Americans is older than 65 and this segment of the population is not only increasing, but also living longer than ever before.

Between 2010 and 2030 the number of adults older than 65 is expected to double, and life expectancy will be almost thirty years greater than a century ago. Worldwide, by the year 2050, the number of people older than 60 will outnumber children 14 years old and younger.

While advances in medicine and improvement in standards of living responsible for this change are all positive, what will these new found years mean for those who are living them, as well as the population as a whole? This question drives the research going on at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife.

The mission of IFAR researchers is to maximize the functional potential and quality of life of adults as they age.

Institute for Aging Research

Affiliated with Harvard Medical School, the Institute for Aging Research is the largest gerontology and geriatrics research facility in the country based in a clinical setting.  Institute scientists work to discover the mechanisms of aging diseases and disability, which leads to the prevention, treatment and cure of disease, advances the standard of care for older people, and informs public decision-making. Their vision is to transform the human experience of aging by ensuring a life of health, dignity and productivity into advanced age.

From the Institute’s world-renowned musculoskeletal research, to the Aging Brain Center, to social research that measures the success of our systems of care at home and abroad, the Institute’s multidisciplinary aging research faculty, promotes scientific investigation that considers the complex relationship between biological, social and psychological factors that influence how well we can all live in old age now, and in the future.

Institute for Aging Research strength is the multidisciplinary nature of its faculty, which includes both social and medical research scientists.

Common age-related conditions:

  • falls
  • urinary incontinence
  • confusion
  • physical decline
  • depression are the result of multiple interacting factors such as multiple organ system abnormalities, drugs, social situations, and psychological problems.

Better understanding geriatric syndromes, and finding new treatments and preventions, requires the collaborative effort of a multidisciplinary team. In addition, the efforts of IFAR scientists are enhanced by Hebrew SeniorLife’s long-standing relationship with many academic institutions within Boston’s rich research community, including its affiliation with Harvard Medical School.

As a result of all of these qualities, the Institute for Aging Research has been able to attract outstanding National Institutes of Health-funded scientists. The results of their studies are regularly accepted for publication by leading peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Active areas of research include:

  • clinical geriatric syndromes such as falls
  • syncope (fainting)
  • delirium (acute confusion)
  • congestive heart failure
  • osteoporosis
  • osteoarthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
  • resident assessment and care models in nursing homes
  • improving the quality of end-of-life care
  • the cost and quality of housing and community-based systems
  • organizational care models for seniors
  • the development of instruments to measure quality of life and functional outcomes
  • tools to better assess seniors at risk of cognitive and functional decline.

At its best, humor is a tool for maintaining perspective on life’s difficulties. The ability to laugh and enjoy the ironies and twists of the world around us is one of the great human coping skills.

Humor may be the best medicine against life’s trials and tribulations . . . but it may also have some health benefits, as well.

Experts at Hebrew SeniorLife say that humor-often in the form of a good, hearty laugh-can help the mind and body in several ways by:

  • Relieving physical tension and stress;
  • Boosting the immune system, including reducing stress hormones and increasing the activity of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies;
  • Releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals; and
  • Improving blood flow and the function of blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In fact, a recent Vanderbilt University study showed that 15 minutes of laughing can burn up to 50 calories!

You don’t have to be able to tell a joke or funny story well to benefit from a healthy sense of humor. HSL experts suggest the following ways to maintain your sense of humor:

  • Avoid jokes that depend on stereotypes and denigration of others;
  • Learn to laugh at your own foibles before you point out someone else’s;
  • Watch a funny move or television show regularly;
  • Tell a good joke if you want to; if no one laughs, that’s their problem.

While scientists continue to study the health benefits of humor, studies have shown that we are 30 times more likely to laugh when we’re with other people. People who laugh a lot, researchers say, may just have a strong connection to the people around them, which, in itself, may have health benefits, including an improved quality of life. So, go ahead and have a good laugh.

Source: http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org/hsl-resources-humor

Laughter Yoga / Laughter Therapy is a system of moderate exercise with no yoga poses to learn, using pranayama yogic breathing with laughter for no reason that directly positively affects many of these areas of concern. Click For List Of Benefits

Richard Taylor, a Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader leads groups of Seniors in 30-45 minute Laughter Sessions that promote:

  • Community
  • Childlike Playfulness
  • Increased Sense of Humor
  • Positive Shift In Attitude
  • Relief of Depression through endorphin release
  • less colds with improved immune system
  • relieves stress
  • improves motor skills
  • Exercise – Even to those who cannot stand
  • oxygenates the body for less disease
  • lowers blood pressure
  • improves heart function
  • Creativity
  • Memory – Association
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Left Brain-Right Brain Functioning
  • Overcomes Fear
  • Creates Meaning
  • Insomnia
  • The list is very long!

Richard Taylor offers Laughter Yoga Wellness Therapy for Seniors

Call or e-mail to inquire about our Senior Laughter Therapy Programs.

For mobile Seniors (anyone from 8-150 years old) attend a Free Laughter Yoga Wellness Class

One such study:

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

Source

Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea.

Abstract

AIM:

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.

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups. Before laughter therapy, the GDS scores were 7.98 ± 3.58 and 8.08 ± 3.96; the MMSE scores were 23.81 ± 3.90 and 22.74 ± 4.00; total scores of SF-36 were 54.77 ± 17.63 and 52.54 ± 21.31; the ISI scores were 8.00 ± 6.29 and 8.36 ± 6.38; the PSQI scores were 6.98 ± 3.41 and 7.38 ± 3.70 in laughter therapy group and control groups, respectively. After laughter therapy, the GDS scores were 6.94 ± 3.19 (P=0.027) and 8.43 ± 3.44 (P=0.422); the MMSE scores were 24.63 ± 3.53 (P=0.168) and 23.70 ± 3.85 (P=0.068); total scores of SF-36 were 52.24 ± 17.63 (P=0.347) and 50.32 ± 19.66 (P=0.392); the ISI scores were 7.58 ± 5.38 (P=0.327) and 9.31 ± 6.35 (P=0.019); the PSQI scores were 6.04 ± 2.35 (P=0.019) and 7.30 ± 3.74 (P=0.847) in both groups, respectively.

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.

© 2011 Japan Geriatrics Society.

PMID:
21241447
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21241447

CONTACT:

Richard Taylor, CLYL, CLWI
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader
Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor

ATLANTA
– LAUGHTER – YOGA
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 404-889-1923
Fax: 1-866-551-1253

Web: www.atlanta-laughter-yoga.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

Laughter Yoga is a complementary health practice that supplements normal western medicine, not replaces it.
Check with your Health Care Professional if you have any concerns. Do not stop any treatments without consulting your Health Care Professional.

 

Depression Help Through Laughter Therapy

Laughter Therapy For Depression

Depression is the number one sickness in the world and millions of dollars are spent on producing antidepressant drugs especially in the west where people feel lonelier and isolated due to high divorce rate, faulty relationship patterns etc.  Laughter Yoga is extremely therapeutic for depression as it helps to release certain neurotransmitters from the brain cells as well as help people to stay connected and share their feelings and emotions.

L.M. Montgomery

“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.”  ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
  • helps reduce depression
  • reduces anxiety
  • insomnia
  • helps you feel more joyful
  • improves self esteem
  • increases positives in your thinking
  • empowers, restores hope and energy
  • helps you connect with others in non judgmental way
  • and initiates powerful positive changes in our mind functioning and emotions
  • build community and trust

Laughter Therapy For Mental Health

A major causal factor of many illnesses is a person’s inability to express their feelings and emotions. People are afraid of reactions and conflict. As a result they suppress and hold their emotions which ultimately affect the immune system adversely leading to a variety of sickness. Laughter Yoga is a cathartic exercise which helps people release their blocked emotions in a non-violent way and makes them emotionally balanced. Bangalore research indicates that Laughter Yoga also helps to increase positive emotions and decrease the negative ones thereby promoting a healthy life.

Martin Luther

“You have as much laughter as you have faith.”  ― Martin Luther

Laughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga is a moderate fun filled form of exercise, combined with yogic breathing and laughter.

Contrary to popular belief, Laughter Yoga has proved that one does not need a sense of humor, to laugh. Laughter can be learnt and programmed into the body, to bring about a complete transformation. Research has proved that just 10-20 minutes of fake or real laughter has a profound benefit on the human body. To be most effective this should be done often, even daily if you are willing. See Daily Laughter Videos.

It is generally believed that in the absence of humor, Laughter is almost unthinkable. But, we cannot always depend on a sense of humor to create laughter, since humor is a phenomenon of the Intellect, the Mind. Moreover, humor is unique to the individual, their culture, and it varies from person to person. There may be few reasons for us to smile and laugh, while there are many reasons for us to be sad, depressed and frustrated.

In fact, regular conditioning as we grow up, has led to undermining of emotional expression. If we notice, children are absolutely natural when they laugh. Their laughter is not dependent on any external stimulus like jokes, comedy or humor. Adults, on the other hand, learn the art of suppressing emotions for fear of being ridiculed or facing a conflict, which proves to be detrimental in the pursuit of physical and mental well being.

Laughter Yoga is a unique concept of Unconditional Laughter, according to this, anyone can Laugh for No Reason. It does not rely on jokes, humor or comedy. It initiates laughter as a form of an exercise in a group, and as the Laughter Sessions progress; Laughter becomes real and contagious.

The name, Laughter Yoga, is derived from combining Yogic breathing (Pranayama) with Laughter Exercises. This effective blend results in multiple health benefits, primarily increasing the supply of oxygen and boosting the immune system. It energizes and recharges the metabolism, making one feel fresh and energetic.

How to Laugh Without a Reason

The best part of Laughter is you really don’t need any “Reason” to Laugh….Just Start. Initially Laughing alone may seem awkward, but joining a Laughter Club makes it easy. It provides a platform which helps to break psychological barriers and shed all inhibitions. One can actually feel ‘fake’ Laughter turn into ‘real’ and contagious laughter.

Audrey Hepburn

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”  ― Audrey Hepburn

Come join us get over the blues, anxiety, insomnia.

Embrace fun, joy, laughter, child like playfulness.

Feel more alive again!

“Did I say you will learn to  laugh more day to day?” – Richard Taylor

FREE LAUGHTER YOGA CLASS

SENIORS

Call for One on One Coaching. Help is available!

CONTACT

Richard Taylor, CLYL, CLWI
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader
Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor

ATLANTA – LAUGHTER – YOGA

5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 404-889-1923
Fax: 1-866-551-1253

Web: www.atlanta-laughter-yoga.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

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