“Laughter is the best medicine” is a true saying. Laughter decreases the stress in the patient first before the treatment for the disease is started. In medical clowning the laughter in sick and depressed patients are brought out with the tricks and jokes performed by medical clowns. It is a movement in which clowns complement medical care.
Fif Fernandes and her fellow clown Hamish Boyd are medical clowns. Medical clowns are not regular clowns. They are called medical clowns as they bring relief to those in real physical pain. In short, medical clowning is not treating the disease, but treating the person.
Medical clowns are the ‘first responders’ during emergencies like assaults, rapes, injuries involving trauma or intensive care. The idea is to have a medical clown there to just increase the energy to a new level, Fernandes says.
Fernandes, former President of the Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns, has been clowning since childhood, has been a paid professional medical clown for 15 years. She says as a therapeutic clown, she would be a part of the medical team that first responds to a case of accident, trauma or rape. She would work alongside doctors and nurses for the benefit of the patient.
Hamish says the main concept behind medical clowning is distraction therapy. They work very closely with a medical team. For example, when doing a painful procedure to a child, the clown would distract the child and in this manner, the doctor would examine fully the child, while he focuses on the clown. In this way, the hospital environment is demystified and humanized for children.
The services of medical clowns have been used in places with different cultures. For example, clowns of Tamil Nadu are called Komali. Now, it is a dying art, but the concept behind it is to bring out laughter.
Therapeutic clowning was an emerging field, when it was started in 2000. But, now, the profession has been recognized and spreading rapidly around the world. There are medical clowns all over Europe, Israel, Canada and USA.
Komali MeDi Clown Academy: Website
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