Beneficial effect of laughter therapy on physiological and psychological function in elders

Nurs Open. 2018 Jul 18;6(1):93-99. doi: 10.1002/nop2.190. eCollection 2019 Jan.

Abstract

Aim: In the present study we investigated the effect of laughter therapy on physiological and psychological function in older people.

Design: An open-label trial.

Methods: Seventeen older people who regularly attended an elderly day care centre were recruited. Stand-up comedy as laughter therapy was performed once a week for 4 weeks. Parameters of physiological and psychological function were evaluated before and after laughter therapy.

Results: Laughter therapy intervention resulted in a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure and heart rate, accompanied by a significant increase in plasma concentration of serotonin and a significant decrease in salivary concentration of chromogranin A. Questionnaire surveys of SF-8, GDS-15, and Vitality Index demonstrated alleviation of depression and improvement of sociability and activity in older people. Laughter therapy could be expected to become a practical treatment to improve quality of life of older people in an elderly day care centre.

Keywords: SF‐8; blood pressure; geriatric depression scale (GDS); laughter therapy; quality of life (QOL); serotonin.