How Laughter Can Help Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Progress

Jon Silo, 85, a former Broadway and television comedic actor, and his wife Ruth, 70, a former actress, are volunteer leaders of Laugh Therapy.Jon and Ruth Silo come to patients at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles every two months to entertain  patients who are undergoing therapy to recover from strokes, neurological, orthopedic or work-related injuries.
The Silo’s method is to encourage patients to express themselves by focusing on something positive or amusing that has happened in their lives. The couple may tell humorous tales and stories from their own lives to get the conversation going and put the patient’s mind more at ease in the group setting.
Groups consist of four to 25 people and usually are made up of elderly patients.  Patients confined to their room are visited directly by the Silos.
“We want to give them something happy,” Jon Silo said. “It is so touching to see people happy that we walk home hugging each other and think of how we helped the patients.”
The Silos used to  perform at USO shows across the United States.
“Comedy became a part of my life,” said Jon Silo, who has  performed in productions such as “Oklahoma!” and “Can-Can,” in addition to  numerous television series and commercials. “I always liked comedy the best because I wanted to see people happy.”
During a hospital stay of his own Jon met Dr. Harry Glassman, who noticed the Silo family’s optimistic outlook on life. Glassman thought that they could become an asset to the hospital because their own experiences had led them to recognize the healing value of laughter.
Until two years ago, physical rehabilitation patients at Cedars-Sinai watched videos to get their dose of comedy and laughter. At Glassman’s suggestion, the couple became volunteers.
“This is not entertainment,” Ruth Silo said. “It is (teaching) a philosophy to cope and live with to get well.”
Laughter has always been known to have positive results on social behavior but it can be equally as helpful during recovery and physical rehabilitation following all kinds of illnesses and surgeries.
When a patient is happy he will likely be encouraged to perform his rehabilitation exercises in a more positive way and thereby speed up the process of recovery. When a patient who is recovering from stroke, MS, CP,Parkinson’s disease, brain or spinal cord injuries or any other upper or lower limb surgery uses state of the art physical therapy products such as the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR or 3DTUTOR he will undoubtedly make progress in his rehabilitation program.
Occupational and physical therapists use these products  known as the TUTOR system as a manual therapy tool to help them with their rehabilitative work.
 The TUTOR system has shown much success in rehabilitation of joint movement. The newly developed TUTORs consist of ergonomic wearable devices. The HANDTUTOR is a glove for hand therapy and the ARMTUTOR is an arm brace for elbow and shoulder rehabilitation. The LEGTUTOR is a leg brace for leg and hip.  They are used by occupational therapists and physiotherapists in rehabilitation centers, private clinics and the home where it can be supported by telerehabilitation. It is designed for those who have head, trunk, upper and lower extremity movement dysfunction.
The accompanying software system consists of motivating and challenging games that allow the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises.  The dedicated rehabilitation software allows the physical and occupational therapist to fully customize the exercises to the patient’s movement ability. In addition, the OT and PT can make objective follow up and reports on their patient’s progress. Rehabilitation (with laughter) can optimize the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive performance and allow the patient to better perform everyday functional tasks to improve their quality of life.
The TUTORS are certified by the FDA and CE. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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