How Laughter Yoga can help Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibres, causing communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.
Here are the primary signs and symptoms, although they can vary widely from person to person, depending on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected:
- Fatigue: A common symptom, which can interfere with the ability to function at both home and work.
- Difficulty in walking: This can result from muscle weakness, muscle spasticity, loss of balance, fatigue or sensory deficit.
- Numbness or weakness: Typically, this occurs on one side of your body at a time, or in your legs and trunk.
- Spasticity: This refers to the stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms, particularly in the leg muscles.
- Dizziness or vertigo: These symptoms can make it difficult to maintain balance and coordination.
- Problems with coordination and balance: Most people with MS have trouble with coordination and balance at some point.
- Blurred or double vision: This can occur during an MS relapse, and can sometimes be accompanied by pain on eye movement.
- Slurred speech: Difficulty with speaking can occur in MS.
- Tingling or pain: This can occur in parts of your body.
- Problems with sexual, bowel, and bladder function: These can also be symptomatic of MS.
- Cognitive changes: These can include problems with memory, attention, and problem-solving.
This Is How Laughter Yoga Can Help MS Patients
- Improves Mood: Laughter is known to stimulate the release of endorphins, your body's natural mood boosters. This can help reduce feelings of depression, which are common in people with MS.
- Reduces Stress: Chronic stress can exacerbate MS symptoms. Laughter yoga helps reduce stress by lowering levels of cortisol, the body's main stress hormone.
- Boosts Immune Function: Regular practice of Laughter yoga can boost the immune system, which could potentially slow the progression of MS, although more research is needed in this area.
- Enhances Resilience: Laughter helps people to develop a positive outlook, build resilience and a sense of well-being.
- Improves Cardiovascular Health: Laughter yoga can increase heart rate, blood circulation and oxygen intake, all of which are beneficial for cardiovascular health.
- Increases Pain Tolerance: Some studies suggest that laughter can increase pain tolerance. This can be beneficial for MS patients, who often experience chronic pain.
- Social Connection: Laughter yoga is often practiced in groups, which can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that can occur in people with chronic illnesses like MS.