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Home/Blog/Laughter Yoga to Improve Immunity and to Prevent Dementia in Senior Citizens

I undertook the voluntary task of leading laughter yoga sessions as part of a preventive care project for senior citizens at Mihama Lively Plaza, which Chiba City is implementing. This project is intended to help senior citizens to become less and less dependent on nursing care by improving their immunity and preventing dementia from setting in. For this, they are presented with gymnastic exercises, movie-going, singing, laughter yoga, etc. once a week for a period of 6 months. During the 5-day period from January 19 to 23 I taught laughter yoga for one and half hours each day.

Eighteen Senior citizens were meant to participate each day in the sessions making a total of 90 for the 5 days, but 12 failed to turn up. None of them had any previous knowledge of laughter yoga.

After a warming-up session for the laughter yoga and breathing exercises, I taught them how to fake laughter based on Dr. Madan Kataria’s 5 laughter exercises:

  1. Fake laughter until you do it naturally.
  2. Make the sound of laughter.
  3. Try to keep on laughing until you run out of breath.
  4. Look upwards and begin laughing.
  5. Try to hold your breath after inhaling but before you burst out laughing.

They practiced exercises in making 3 laughing techniques, (1) “A” laughter, (2) Humming laughter (Variation 1) and (3) “Mwu” laughter). Needless to say, laughter is rooted in your personality, and these laughing techniques are for reference only. I suggested that they find their own way of laughing themselves with reference to the 3 laughing techniques.

Even after “Ahahhahhahhahha” laughter, following childlike play “Very good (clap), very good (clap), yeah, great (clap), great (clap), yeah”, raucous laughter did not stop for a while, which I think was favorably caused by the above laughter exercise.

At the end of the session, I questioned them, and obtained the following replies:

1. Which laughter do you want to fake?

  1. “A” laughter 62 people
  2. Humming laughter 5 people
  3. “Mwu” laughter 2 people

2. Do you want to exercise fake laughter so that you will be able to laugh everyday?
Yes: 65 people

3. Do you want to participate in any session of laughter yoga?
Yes: 7 people

From the above, I think the following can be said:

1. Most people feel that laughter is the real laughter.

2. While there are only a few people who want to participate in a laughter yoga session, many people want to practice the exercise of fake laughing so that they can laugh every day.

I think that this is a result of understanding that laughter is effective for promoting health and preventing dementia and everybody will be able to laugh if they practice laughing.

Senior citizens have almost no opportunity to laugh on a daily basis and in most cases live a lonely life. I therefore intend to propose strongly that the municipality implements such a project at this time so that they will be able to laugh alone on a daily basis.

Furthermore, I think it is indispensable to teach laughing techniques to participants of laughter yoga so that they will be able to laugh alone on a daily basis. In this sense, I trust that this blog and my last one “Enjoy Laughter - Experiment On How To Laugh For Laughter Yoga Meditation” will be found useful to laughter yoga leaders and teachers.