Thre is unusual way of therapy for children who have to go through long treatment procedures in hospitals. Surprisingly, this therapy is medical clownery. Medical clownery, or laughter therapy, is proven to have a healing effect on patients, especially if patients are children. The main aim is to help the children and their parents to overcome stress associated with treatment in hospitals. Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to imagine how this therapy works. However, a professional hospital clown Oleg Lonshakov, kindly gave us an interview about this funny, but uneasy work.
What is a medical clownery
As Oleg or clown Olejik said, medical clownery is very diferent type of clowning and entertainment.
I’ve been in this field for more than 20 years. That is why I know that it requires training, practice. Moreover, cooperation with doctors and medical stuff is inevitable in order not to harm, but bring healing effect to the troubled ones. Shortly, it is working with sort of gentle energy and not everyone fits for this type of work. In fact, it takes constant working and improving your skills and teamworking with people likewise. Medical clown must improve himself in different directions so that his energy is sensitive. As a result, this energy actually brings healing effect for children that you play with. I do not know how it exactly works. However, I always remember team of clowns from Patch Adams playing in Afganistan. Here they played with a girl that got burned all over and a doctor had to take off the burned clothes. As she was in extreme pain, clowns started trying to play with her, she got distracted and stopped crying! Finally, doctor was able to pull the pieces of burned clothes off the child without painkillers! They did not have those at the moment in that hospital. What a miracle and result of such energy.
Origin of hospital clownery
Patch Adams is known worldwide as a founder of laughter therapy and medical clownery. Adams believes that positive atmosphere and laugh are the best treatment for any disease.
“Take, for example cancer. It has been proved that laughter helps increase the number of “soldier-cells,” which destroy cancer cells. Laughter boosts the immune system and releases endorphins. In short, being happy is the best cure of all diseases.”
You can watch a movie (Patch Adams 1998 Trailer) about his projects where Robin Williams acts as Patch Adams. Nowadays, hospital clownery is popular worldwide. There are professional clowns who get paid for this job and volunteers as well.
Motivation for being a clown
Being a medical clown is not always as positive as it seems. Volunteers have to deal with difficult little patients. Every visit has its challenges. Although, there is a great motivation for clowns. As you witness results in children’s smiles and positive comments from parents and doctors, you realise you made someone happy. When medical clowns come, children have fun and it’s easier for them to go through unpleasant medical procedures. It brings feeling of worthiness to you. Though, not in a selfish sort of way. It is also being a part of a community, which thinks like you and wants to do good for others. Besides, it is being a citizen of the planet and carry responsibility for such a calling.
Attracting new participants
The most widespread method of attracting newcomers is through social media. Certainly, we need to keep in touch with people through media and share media files of our work. Some people become impressed and want to join clowns. Although, not everyone is willing to be a clown. Some people would like to help financially. Notably, there are shy individuals, who cannot perform on public, though they want to participate. In some occasions language seems to be a problem too. Although, even if a clown and the children speak different languages, communication still can take place. When I asked Rullof (a professional medical clown): “How do you work with kids in other countries? You do not know the language?!” He smiled and said: “I work with energy, that’s all you need…” I was puzzled. Now years passed and I know it’s simple and complicated at the same time. But it works everytime I enter the hospital room, it just works!
The main goal of hospital clowns is to help children who go through aggressive treatment. Phsycholgical, social, cultural activities of hospital clowns is inevitable in supporting needy.