Laughter and the Elderly

Laughing is good for everyone. So good and healthy is laughing, that laughter yoga was established back in 2002. The phrase and concept was developed by Madan Kataria, an Indian physician who spoke about it in his book, ‘Laugh for No Reason.’ The idea is that “voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Laughter yoga is done in groups, with eye contact and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter.”

For elderly people, laughter therapy is a fantastic way of staying fit and healthy that doesn’t require much physical strength. So many exercises are not accessible for the elderly demographic due to their oft-ailing health but laughter yoga/therapy is not one of them.

According to an article by Marlo Sollitto in AgingCare.com, “many experts say that laughing in even the grimmest situations is good for you, both mentally and physically. Laughter releases stress, strengthens the immune system, improves sleep, diffuses tension, reduces pain and boosts ‘happy chemistry.’ Laughter is the nemesis of tension; you can’t hold on to tension when you laugh.”

Indeed, there have been scientific facts to prove this including that when one laughs, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow; humor boosts the level of infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells; blood pressure is lowered; laughing can provide pain relief and it also provides a way for increased mobility especially for the elderly who find this hard. According to Stanford University’s Dr. William Fry, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine.

So find a way to help the elderly…just by having a giggle.