Effect of laughter yoga on salivary cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone among healthy university students: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 Aug:32:6-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.04.005. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Objective: To examine whether laughter yoga (LY), i.e., simulated laughter, alters cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels and cortisol/DHEA (C/D) ratios.

Methods: In a randomized controlled trial, 120 healthy university students were allocated to experiencing LY, watching a comedy movie (spontaneous laughter), or reading a book. Salivary cortisol and DHEA levels were measured immediately before, immediately after, and 30 min after the intervention.

Results: Cortisol levels and C/D ratios significantly decreased by time in the LY and comedy movie groups. Significant group*time interactions were found between these two groups for cortisol levels and C/D ratios. DHEA levels did not change by time in the LY group.

Conclusions: LY decreased cortisol levels and C/D ratios but did not affect DHEA levels. Simulated and spontaneous laughter differently affected the dynamics of cortisol levels and C/D ratios. Effect of spontaneous laughter on the cortisol dynamics lasted longer than that of simulated laughter. (UMIN000019409).

Keywords: Cortisol; Cortisol/dehydroepiandrosterone ratio; Dehydroepiandrosterone; Laughter yoga; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Laughter Therapy*
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult


  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Hydrocortisone