Effects of Laughter Yoga on Health-Related Quality of Life in Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy - Turkish Study

Effects of Laughter Yoga on Health-Related Quality of Life in Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy - Turkish Study

Background: Chemotherapy is associated with a wide range of physical and psychological side effects. Complementary and alternative therapies, including laughter yoga, may be practiced independently or combined with standard treatments to improve the health-related quality of life of cancer patients. Laughter yoga has predominantly been used as a complementary therapy to enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals, including patients with chronic diseases. However, to date, few studies have evaluated the effects of this modern exercise on cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in clinical settings. This study aimed to investigate the effects of laughter yoga on the health-related quality of life of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods: This study was a two-group randomized clinical trial conducted in 2018 on 69 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy at Reza Radiotherapy and Oncology Center, Iran. Patients were randomly divided into intervention and control groups. The intervention group participated in laughter yoga sessions, which were held once a week for four weeks. Each session lasted 20–30 minutes and involved various laughter yoga exercises. The health-related quality of life of patients was assessed using the Quality of Life Questionnaire of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC QLQ-C30) version 3.0, both before and after the laughter yoga sessions. Data were analyzed using SPSS Statistics (v.20), employing Chi-square, independent t-test, Mann-Whitney, Wilcoxon, and paired t-tests.

Results: In the intervention group, there were significant improvements in the mean scores of emotional functioning (12.99 ± 10.49), physical functioning (0.78 ± 6.08), role functioning (3.43 ± 7.97), fatigue (-8.82 ± 22.01), pain (-8.33 ± 11.78), sleep disturbance (-15.68 ± 18.77), and global health and quality of life (6.37 ± 5.04) (p < 0.05). No significant changes were observed in the control group.

A related study in Turkey showed that six sessions of breathing exercises reduced the incidence and severity of nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. This study also noted a reduction in nausea and vomiting, possibly due to the breathing component of the laughter yoga intervention. Laughter yoga includes deep breathing exercises combined with laughter, which has been shown to reduce tension, anxiety, and stress, factors that contribute to alleviating nausea and vomiting.

Additionally, the Manual of Guidelines for Cancer Care to Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy recommends deep breathing exercises to prevent these symptoms. Shahidi et al. (2011) found that laughter yoga decreased depression scores by 60%, compared to a 37.8% reduction in an exercise group of older women. Furthermore, patients with higher health-related quality of life scores often showed more interest in social roles and had more positive emotions and experiences, which aligns with the findings of this study. Therefore, laughter yoga can be considered a viable treatment option.

Conclusions: A structured laughter yoga intervention in a hospital setting effectively improved the health-related quality of life for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Integrating laughter yoga into routine care could offer significant benefits to many patients.

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