Empirical study of the influence of a Laughing Qigong Program on long-term care residents

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2015 Feb;15(2):165-73. doi: 10.1111/ggi.12244. Epub 2014 Feb 18.


Aim: To determine the psychological and physiological effects of a Laughing Qigong Program on an elderly population in an institutionalized setting.

Methods: Participants were recruited from a long-term care institution in northern Taiwan. A total of 99 residents were interviewed and 66 enrolled, there were 33 control participants and 33 experimental participants. The participants were matched according to their abilities as measured by the Barthel Index of Activities for Daily Living. Experimental participants attended the Laughing Qigong Program, twice a week for 4 weeks. Comparisons were made on the Mini-Mental State Examination, Faces Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale and cortisol levels.

Results: Psychometric measures for participants in the experimental group improved, whereas those in the control group decreased. The experimental group showed the following changes: improved Mini-Mental State Examination scores (Z=-2.28; P<0.05), improved mood states (Z=-4.47; P<0.001) and decreased Geriatric Depression Scale scores (Z=3.79; P<0.001). There were no significant changes for the experimental group in cortisol levels. By comparison, the control group showed: decreased mood states (Z=2.53; P<0.011), increased Geriatric Depression Scale scores (Z=4.34; P<0.001) and significant increases in cortisol levels (Z=2.62; P<0.009).

Conclusions: The Laughing Qigong Program has shown to be an effective, cost-effective non-pharmacological therapy for cognitive impairment, mood states and elderly depression.

Keywords: cognitive function; depression; elderly care; laughter therapy; mood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Laughter Therapy* / economics
  • Long-Term Care
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychometrics
  • Saliva / chemistry


  • Hydrocortisone