A program involving simulated laughter exercises, deep belly breathing, chanting and clapping has been shown to improve mood and lower blood pressure among aged care residents.
La Trobe University researchers ran six weekly laughter yoga sessions across three Melbourne aged care homes and measured residents’ positive and negative mood, level of happiness, pulse and blood pressure at the beginning and end of each session. The 28 residents who took part were aged 61 to 96 and almost half were living with dementia.
Lead researcher Julie Ellis said laughter yoga resulted in measurable improvements in health and emotional wellbeing for those involved. Ellis said: “Based on our findings, there’s good reason to run regular sessions in aged care facilities.”
Co-researcher and trained laughter yoga instructor Ros Ben-Moshe ran the sessions and said residents’ laughter was contagious. “If one person in the group laughed, others soon followed,” Ben-Moshe said, adding the team also observed increased laughter and social engagement among residents with dementia.
“Participants told us laughter yoga made them feel good, relaxed and connected with others in the group,” she said. “Only one person dropped out and most of those who completed the program said they would do it again.”
Click below to watch an instructional video for laughter yoga made by Ben-Moshe. Jump ahead to the 5.19 minute mark to see the exercises in action.Do you have an idea for a story?
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