Article first published online: January 31, 2015
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Purpose of study: To examine the psychological effects of Chin-Don (CD) performance as an alternative or supplemental therapy - or CD therapy (CDT) - on elderly people by analyzing and evaluating the mood effects and interpersonal relationships in community-based settings. Methods and subjects: Three psychologically negatively affected elderly cases (age: ≧60 yr) randomized from different facilities participated in the CDT. Subjects displayed different personalities and negative psychological emotions before exposure to CD performance (or CDT). The CDT involved CD performers using drum, trumpet, flute, other Asian instruments, etc. accompanied by humorous gestures, singing and dancing with or without occasional interactive participation of subjects. Yesteryear Japanese melodies with dancing were respectively used as acoustic and visual stimuli for the elderly subjects, who had to gather at the same place and time for the CDT. The pre- and post-CDT behavior and facial expressions of participants were observed, and individually recorded on a digital video camera for post-CDT exposure reconfirmation. Results: Based on the findings, psychologically positive effects of CDT (including triggering of smiles/laughter, improved mood, and better interpersonal relationships) were observed in the community setting. Those pre-exposure CDT negative psychological/emotional parameters were apparently improved after CDT exposure. Discussion: The acoustic and visual rhythmical stimuli produced by CD performers probably mimicked certain neural pathways via neural (acoustic and visual) pathways to retrieve memory of past/childhood experiences of happiness and joy, and evoked both positive physiological and psychological changes in the elderly subjects. CD performance - as CDT - may serve as a potentially useful source of positive inputs for the psychologically negative elderly in Japan.