Laugh it off: Even simulated laughter improves your mood
11/05/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

People say that a sense of humor makes life's troubles easier to bear. However, according to the results of a study, implementing a one-of-a-kind simulated laughter program may also help boost the overall health of an individual who requires hemodialysis.

The authors posit that this special program may help improve the quality of life and mood of patients who need to undergo regular hemodialysis treatments.

The healing power of laughter

The researchers wanted to assess the influence of a simulated laughter program on hemodialysis patients' cortisol levels, health-related quality of life, and mood.

In the study, patients took part in a special four-week simulated laughter program. The researchers observed a group made up of 40 patients. (Related: Don’t Take Life Too Seriously – A Healthy Sense of Humor May Prolong Your Life.)

The laughter group included 20 randomly assigned participants while another set of 20 patients were also randomly assigned to a control group. In the first group, 11 participants finished the laughter program after hemodialysis sessions. At the end of the program, 18 members of the control group remained.

For the four-week simulated laughter program, the hemodialysis patients took part in weekly 60-minute group sessions. The participants joined different various activities such as:

  • Breathing
  • Daily 15-second individual laughter sessions (these were done over the telephone)
  • Meditation
  • Simulated laughter
  • Stretching exercises

The researchers gauged each patient's cortisol levels, health-related quality of life, and mood through the thorough rank analysis of covariance and Wilcoxon's signed rank test. The study findings recorded notable improvements in the laughter group's mood, role limitations (caused by physical health), social interaction quality, and symptoms.


Based on data gathered from the study, the scientists are hopeful that the simulated laughter program can soon be used to improve the health-related quality of life and mood of other hemodialysis patients.

The study, titled "The effects of a simulated laughter programme on mood, cortisol levels, and health-related quality of life among haemodialysis patients," was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

What is hemodialysis?

If an individual is healthy, their kidneys can clean their blood and eliminate extra fluid through urine. Healthy kidneys also produce substances that keep the body healthy. However, when a patient's kidneys can no longer work properly, dialysis will replace some of these functions. There are two different types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

A patient requires hemodialysis if their kidneys can no longer remove enough wastes and fluid from their blood to keep them healthy. This often occurs when an individual only has 10 to 15 percent of their kidney function left. Patients may experience symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, swelling, and vomiting.

Even if you don't have these symptoms yet, you may still have a high level of wastes in your blood. These wastes can be toxic to your body. A healthcare professional can help you determine if and when you need to start dialysis.

In hemodialysis, a dialysis machine and a special filter called an artificial kidney (a dialyzer) are used to clean a patient's blood. To get blood into the dialyzer, a medical expert forms an access or entrance into the patient's blood vessels. This is done via minor surgery, usually to the arm.

The dialyzer or filter has two parts: one for the blood and one for dialysate, a washing fluid. A thin membrane separates the two parts of a dialyzer. Blood cells, protein, and other important things remain in the blood since they're too big to pass through the membrane. Meanwhile, smaller waste products in the blood, e.g., creatinine, extra fluid, potassium, and urea, pass through the membrane. These small waste products are then washed away.

When done in a dialysis center, hemodialysis often takes place about three times a week for around four hours per session. If a patient wants to do hemodialysis at home, they can have dialysis treatments more frequently, such as four to seven times weekly for shorter hours each session.

Read more articles about other effective alternative cures for kidney diseases at

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