Laughter Yoga has been reported to have many health, healing and wellness benefits around the world. Helen from Malaysia reports on the benefits of stroke patients. She does Laughter Yoga for Stroke Patients in Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Sahah, Malaysian Borneo
See her report below: We were requested to try laughter with the stroke patients at their physio-therapy class. The patients are a variety of ages and of disability. We are now going there every week and the patients definitely enjoy this form of exercise as it is more fun than the usual ones!
There are several ways in which we modify the laughter exercises for these patients. As most of the patients have difficulty balancing and doing exercise, they remain seated for the laughter exercises. We need several laughter volunteers to help the patients. Most of them have very little use of one arm and hand so they clap with their good hand or the imobile one, or on their leg or on the hand of a volunteer. We go around and help them to clap. Some exercises they do by lifting the bad hand with the good one, which is good practice for them. For example, holding the motorbike handle bars! Of course, they also need exercises to recover the use of their facial muscles and laughter is excellent for that. We do Lion Laughter hilariously! It does not matter that some have lost control of their voices as it all sounds like roaring and promotes a good sense of fun. For people who don't feel comfortable sticking out their tongue, we do a 'Shy Lion' with our hands in front of the face! We consult with the therapists on what exercises to do. It is essential to keep an eye on the patients and make sure to stop before they get too tired. We also do a lot of deep breathing exercises. As two of our volunteer laughter leaders are retired nurses, we have good support for this community activity.
Because these patients are frustrated and afraid, laughter exercises help them to relieve their feelings. Many of them have a family member at the class with them. For these people too, laughter is a relief as they are taking care of their spouse, parent or even child who has suddenly become disabled in this way. The therapists are enjoying it too! Many stroke patients are capable of quite speedy improvement if they exercise regularly and laughter is certainly encouraging them to exercise more. I should imagine that their rate of recovery is enhanced by the deep breathing but have no evidence to support this. I am convinced that laughter exercises should be a part of every stroke therapy session.
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