More than 70 percent of the 30 cancer patients in a laughter yoga program reported sleeping better, experiencing less pain and feeling less depressed after taking some classes, Taichung Hospital said recently.
Laughter yoga teaches people to laugh hard, which increases endorphin release, helps improve their emotional well-being, enhances their immune system, and reduces inflammation and stress hormones, said Liao Chih-Ying (廖志穎), director of the hospital’s radiation oncology department.
Liao, who introduced laughter yoga from the US to the hospital in October last year, said most cancer patients experience different degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder, with about 40 percent suffering depression, anxiety, insomnia or chronic stress when they experience pain or are undergoing treatment.
Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times
The increase in stress hormones, adrenaline and inflammation-
related genes also weaken their immune system, allowing cancer cells to become more aggressive and enhancing the risks of cancer metastasis, he said.
Laughter yoga leads to the release of endorphins and fake laughter can gradually become real laughter through constant practice, he said.
The endorphins can help relieve stress, improve their mood and immune system, and even prevent the recurrence and spread of cancer, he added.
The hospital invited yoga teacher Lai Ching-ju (賴晴如) to give a one-hour class to cancer patients every week, and after two months, about 70 percent of the participants reported improvements in their problems with sleeping, pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
A 48-year-old woman surnamed Hsieh (謝), who owns a cram school and teaches English and essay writing, said she used to work more than 10 hours a day, but was seldom sick, so she found it hard to believe after she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
She underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, losing about 10kg in six months because of the side effects of the treatment. She often locked herself in a room crying, throwing things around, slamming her body against the wall and collected sleeping pills as she contemplated suicide.
When the hospital’s volunteers invited her to attend the laughter yoga class, she could not laugh at all at first. However, by starting first with fake laughs, playing games and practicing meditation, she was able to laugh from the heart during the second class and gradually laughed harder, regained her appetite and continues practicing at home.
She imagined her body completely recovered, read jokes on the Internet and has become truly happy, always greeting people with a smile, Hsieh said.
Laughter yoga has helped improved her relationship with her family and encouraged her to travel, Hsieh said, adding that she has learned to be grateful to the sickness that has turned her life around.
A restaurant owner surnamed Wang (王), who was diagnosed with Stage 3 gastric cancer two years ago, had to have two-thirds of his stomach removed, and went through electrotherapy and chemotherapy. Wang said he thought he was “almost about to die” because he could not eat anything.
He said he was always in low spirits, but later thought he might as well try laughter yoga as a last resort.
“I found out that I wanted to laugh as much as I could, to laugh away the cancer cells and that I would rather die laughing than crying,” Wang said.
“Now, I feel happy all the time, doing volunteer work, Chinese calligraphy, practicing taichi and living an enriched life,” he added.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number
The Taipei City Government on Wednesday introduced of a series of tourism promotions, including free sightseeing bus tours and hotel discounts, in a bid to boost the number of international visitors. From now until June 30, 10,000 free Taipei Sightseeing Bus tickets are to be made available to travelers who stay in designated hotels for two nights, cruise passengers and European visitors transiting for more than 15 hours, the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said. Eligible tourists can ask for the free four-hour unlimited ride bus tickets by presenting their passports at the hotels they stay in or from the
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday