Hospitals can be a pretty terrifying place, especially for children who are suddenly confronted with a needles, tests, and bare white walls. But Israeli doctors are blazing the trail for professionalizing “clown therapy” to help cheer patients up. They say it’s time for the medical community to recognize medical clowns as legitimate paramedical practitioners. Ynet news covers the story:
Over the last few years, Israeli clowns have been popping into hospital operating rooms and intensive care units with balloons and kazoos in hand, teaming up with doctors to develop laughter therapies they say help with disorders ranging from pain to infertility.
This is not how things are done in most of the world’s hospitals. Clowns often visit pediatric wards to cheer up young patients, but in most places the clowning ends where the medicine begins. When it comes time for a child to get a shot or go under the knife, the clowns step aside.
Israeli clowns thumb their shiny red noses at that approach. They quote studies which suggest that a clown’s participation in treatments can help patients — especially kids — endure painful procedures and speed their healing.
“It’s not just putting on a red nose, floppy shoes, and playing a ukulele,” said Dr. Arthur Eidelman, recently retired chief of pediatrics at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and chair of the Dream Doctors’ scientific committee. “We see medical clowns as an integral part of the health care team.” Read more>>