Researchers from the Neurology Department at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, studied the effects of Laughter Yoga in chronic migraine patients, in addition to usual treatment.
Traditional yoga postures and exercises have been shown to decrease migraine frequency and severity. Laughter yoga is a less well known type of yoga that incorporates mimicking facial movements of laughter to “induce a state of mirthfulness.”
Laughter is an innate human emotion which may improve stress levels and muscle relaxation by lessening levels of cortisol, dopamine, epinephrine and growth hormone.
The effects of Laughter Yoga without the use of traditional postures have not been studied for chronic migraine previously.
The study included 19 chronic migraineurs, all women, with an average age of 42 years.
Because the sample size of this study was small, the results were not statistically significant. However, the Laughing Yoga group showed greater improvement in depression at 8 weeks, compared to the usual care group, as did the Quality of Life scores for the Laughing Yoga group, who participated in a group session one time a week, as well as daily practice at home.
The researchers concluded that the addition of Laughter Yoga therapy to usual medical therapy is a feasible low risk treatment that may improve quality of life and depression in chronic migraineurs, while also decreasing headache impact on daily life. They suggest that Laughter Yoga therapy may also cause a mild decrease in headache frequency. Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain June 2014