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Laughter Yoga May Help Ease Pain in the Hospice Patient

You may have taken a yoga class before, but have you taken a laughter yoga class before? It’s a thing. And it’s been praised as being a conduit for easing pain in hospice patients. As we enter National Yoga Awareness Month, we urge you to explore new avenues of alleviating stress and seeking out new ways to add joy to your life. If you are a hospice patient or the loved one of a hospice patient in San Francisco and elsewhere, you may want to take notice of this new trend being credited as a distraction from pain associated with anything from cancer to stroke to dementia.

What is Laughter Yoga?

Laughter yoga is built on the premise of achieving more health and happiness in life instead of being stressed out, depressed, in pain, tired and isolated. A revolutionary idea that’s both simple and profound, laughter yoga is an exercise routine that was developed by a medical doctor from India, Dr. Madan Kataria, and has since spread across 100 countries, according to Laughter Yoga University. You may not think you can laugh on command, with no jokes being told, or being in a group of strangers (at first!). However, the principles of this approach show that you can laugh with special guided techniques, with benefits felt in the first session.

Laughter is initiated as a body exercise within a group, resulting from eye contact, various breathing techniques and “childlike playfulness,” which quickly turns into real and contagious laughter. Ever wonder why laughing makes you feel so good? Well, it oxygenates your body and brain. Laughter yoga combines deep breathing exercises from yoga with laughter, which sends more oxygen to our brain and throughout our bodies to help us feel more healthy and energetic. In fact, research has shown that laughter lowers the level of stress hormones in the blood.

The Feel-Good Effects of Laughter Yoga

Its fancy name is Hasya yoga but at its heart, it’s all about the laughter. The whole premise of the approach is that laughter is good for your body and mind, with studies suggesting that laughter can decrease stress, improve the immune system and enhance blood flow, according to WebMD. Studies also show it helps with pain as well, with participants saying they aren’t as aware of their pain when they laugh.

On top of alleviating pain, laughter yoga breaks down barriers, giving patients the opportunity to connect with one another and give them something to look forward to. This is a very important component, as many people in hospice and home health care are often isolated from the community due to their illness, losing contact with the outside world slowly but surely. This can lead to depression and feelings of low self worth. Laughter yoga gives patients a sense of purpose and distraction from the emotional and physical pain they’re feeling.

Think you can’t laugh on cue? Studies reveal that forced laughter can release the same endorphins as real laughter, Parish says. While laughter has long been known for its health benefits, laughter yoga itself can be traced to its roots in Mumbai back in 1995.

5 Benefits of Laughter Yoga

Thinking of engaging in laughter yoga? You can do it with your loved one, as it’s a simple and fun way to reconnect and get quality time in. Here are some benefits to laughter yoga. What better way to celebrate September as National Yoga Awareness Month?

  • Good Mood and Additional Laughter: Laughter yoga changes your mood and mindset within minutes through the release of chemicals called endorphins from your brain cells. As a result, you stay cheerful and in a good mood throughout the day, even spurring on more laughter than you would normally experience.
  • Healthy Exercise that Beats Stress: Laughter yoga is similar to an aerobic exercise or cardio workout, bringing more oxygen to the brain and body, helping you feel more energetic and relaxed.
  • Health Benefits: Laughter yoga reduces stress as well as strengthens the immune system to help you heal faster.
  • Quality of Life: Laughter, a positive energy, helps people connect with others quickly and improves existing relationships. Laughing more often attracts more friends, as people are drawn to others who bring a positive light to life.
  • Positive Attitude in Challenging Times: It’s easy to laugh when life is treating you well, but how can you laugh when faced with challenges? Laughter creates a positive mental state to help you handle negative situations, such as cancer and other fatal illnesses. It provides optimism and hope to better cope with difficult times.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

Our hospice care team knows the value of laughter in the hospice setting, which is why you get peace of mind knowing we provide compassionate care for your loved one. To learn more about our services, please contact us at 888-755-7855.