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Research

The Benefits Of Laughter For Stroke Patients

UKZN RESEARCH FINDS LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

http://www.ukzn.ac.za/UKZNonline/V3/17/s16.html

Please click on the above link for the full article but here is a summary of the findings:

“Initially, some of the stroke patients viewed laughter therapy with scepticism. However by their fourth session, they were more receptive to this form of therapy, said Dr Suraj-Narayan. Significant findings of the study included:

  • a reduction in post-stroke depression resulting from direct damage to emotional centres in the brain, compounded by frustration and difficulty adapting to new limitations. These included anxiety, panic attacks, fla
    t effect (failure to express emotions) and apathy, often characterised by lethargy, irritability, sleep disturbances, lowered self esteem and withdrawal, and a reduction in stroke-related pain.
  • enhanced mobility and the ability to walk without walking aids.
  • endorphins released as a result of laughter helped in reducing the intensity of pain.
  • in some cases laughter therapy helped patients recover from cognitive deficits resulting from stroke including perceptual disorders, speech problems, and problems with attention and memory.
  • improved communication and relations between the patient and significant others.

“Stroke patients viewed laughter therapy as a safe medium to overcome their problems. They developed a zeal and enthusiasm to do things for themselves. For older stroke patients it had given them inner joy and offered them a renewed sense of purpose to live,” said Dr Suraj-Narayan.

Observing the positive effects laughter therapy has on stroke patients, Dr Suraj-Narayan said she attained “super-sensuous joy” and a sense of fulfillment knowing that this therapy made a profound difference in the lives of people who
were vulnerable.”

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