Laughter Therapy – The Numerous Benefits
When dealing with elderly people, the degenerative changes associated with their biological and psychological functions call for identification and implementation of various therapies and practices. One of these is the laughter therapy which is used to cure depression among elderly. Studies reveal that particularly for individuals who are more than 65 years old, the central issues associated with their health are depression, insomnia and poor sleep quality. These diseases not only have a negative impact on various aspects of their lives but also tend to place an undue burden on care givers and their families who have little information on how to manage such patients. In order to cater to such issues, laughter therapy has emerged as a promising field which is fast being recognized as a useful psychotherapeutic intervention. For patients who suffer from memory loss or dementia, laughter is said to have positive results as it is preserved more easily in the memory. Laughter therapy therefore focuses on providing valuable information to the patients regarding laughter and how to adopt humor into their daily lives.
The most beneficial feature of laughter therapy is that it is very cost effective, thus providing care takers, hospital staff and other institutes to implement it widely without any additional funding requirements. Also in order to implement this therapy, there is no requirement for any special space or additional preparation of material. Laughter therapy is supported by various scientists and experts including Freud who mentioned that laughter is an individual’s natural defense mechanism which enables positive emotions to overcome negative or undesirable emotions. The theory has been further supported by various studies on muscle tones and responses. Laughter has been shown to relax muscle groups and eventually a decrease in the skeletal muscle tone.
In a usual scenario, laughter therapy is performed by nurses who have been certified by a specific association or institute. While the therapy is considered appropriate for almost any individual, usual applications are found in healthcare settings or in professional workplaces where therapists work hand in hand with their patients and other health care providers. The patients are subject to three to four hours of therapy per week in order to boost stress releasing endorphins in the body. The basic principle behind laughter therapy is that the human body cannot decipher the difference between fake and real laughter, thus implying that the therapy will have far better results than deemed. Laughter therapy is currently available in both individual and group sessions. Long term effects of laughter therapy include a strengthened immune system and better stress management skills.