1. Amongst a cohort of adults in Japan, a comprehensive laughter-intervention program significantly improved physical and psychological functions.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
The relationship between metabolic syndrome (combination of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia) and physical lifestyle factors such as exercise have been well established in literature. Recently, studies have also explored the relationship between this syndrome and psychosocial stresses. Some literature has explored the effect on stimulated laughter, such as laughter yoga, on certain health outcomes. This study sought to compare the effects of a comprehensive laughter program on the physical and psychological health amongst Japanese community-dwelling individuals at risk of metabolic syndrome. Participants included men and women from 40 – 79 who had one or more risk factors of metabolic syndrome such as a higher obesity grade or hypertension. 235 (198 women) participants were allocated to the control (n=118) and intervention group (n=117). Some participants were lost to follow up and 225 were included in analysis (intervention group = 113, control group = 112). The intervention program was composed of a lecture about laughter, health and diseases and an approximately 60-minute laughter yoga class and the intervention period lasted 12-weeks. The control group went about their daily lives as usual. The outcomes measured were body weight, subjective stress, subjective well-being, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). All outcomes were measured at baseline and after the 12-week intervention period. The study found that the comprehensive laughter program significantly improved the mean body weight and BMI (p = 0.008 and p = 0.006, respectively). Additionally, there were significant improvements in the subjective mental stress scores (p = 0.004) and subjective well-being scores (p = 0.002). No such changes were found in the control group. Therefore, the study concluded that a comprehensive laughter intervention program, consisting of laughter yoga, has significant positive effects on physical and psychological functions
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