Effect of Laughter Yoga on Psychological Well-being and Physiological Measures

Adv Mind Body Med. 2016 Winter;30(1):12-20.


Context: In 2014, laughter yoga (LY) achieved the intermediate level, tier 2, under the Title III-D Evidence-based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program through the Administration on Aging (AOA). Further research is needed to qualify LY under the criteria for the highest tier, tier 3, to assure continued funding for LY classes at senior centers.

Objectives: The study intended to demonstrate further the benefits of LY and to qualify LY as tier 3 under Title III-D.

Design: Using a quasi-experimental design, the research team conducted a preintervention/postintervention study in 3 phases.

Setting: The study was done in a variety of community centers. Phase 1, a pilot phase, was limited to North Carolina, and phase 2 was conducted in multiple states. Phase 3 was held at the North Carolina Area Agency on Aging's annual Volunteer Appreciation meeting.

Participants: Participants in phases 1 (n = 109) and 2 (n = 247) enrolled in LY classes. Classes were advertised by fliers posted in community and in retirement centers. The ability of participants to participate in a class was based solely on their desire to participate, regardless of age, ability, health status, or physical impairment. Phase 3 (n = 23) was a convenience sample only. All phases were voluntary.

Outcome measure: The pre- and posttests for all 3 phases were Likert-scale surveys, 10 questions on the Psychological Outcomes of Well-being (POWB) survey. Pulse and other physiological measurements were also assessed pre- and postintervention. Analysis included a t test on each of the 10 POWB and physiological measures for all phases.

Results: All 10 POWB measures for phases 1 and 2 showed significant improvements between the pre- and postintervention testing (P < .001). Phase 3, the control, showed no significant improvement.

Conclusions: The initial study demonstrated that LY meets the criteria to qualify for tier 3 under the Title III-D Evidence-based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program and that a large number of Americans, regardless of age and physical ability, could benefit from LY.

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Laughter Therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Yoga*