It’s long been said that laughter is the best medicine. Letting go with a deep belly laugh can provide a physical and emotional release. A doctor in Taipei is helping cancer patients improve their moods and sleep better with a class in laughing.
Liao Chih-Ying, director of radiation oncology at Taichung Hospital, first learned about “laughter yoga” in the United States and introduced it at his hospital in October 2013. This innovative method is based on the idea that forced laughter provides the same physical and emotional benefits as spontaneous laughter. Through regular practice, the fake laughter can eventually become genuine.
According to Dr. Liao, many cancer patients experience varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms can include depression, stress and insomnia. This creates a domino effect when stress-related hormones and chemicals weaken the immune system, which can allow the cancer to spread.
Laughter stimulates production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers. Dr. Liao believed that learning to laugh more frequently could be a healthy way to reduce the patients’ mood disorders. Yoga instructor Lai Ching-ju was asked to teach a weekly one-hour class at the hospital. Two months later roughly 70 percent of the participants reported improvements in their pain and mood levels as well as better quality sleep.
At Issels Santa Barbara we also believe that improving your quality of life can help build your defense mechanisms. Our personalized alternative cancer therapies take a mind-body approach toward restoring health. Please contact us for more information.