Concepts and Ideas

Medical Clowning: Laughter is Medicine!

I once asked a Doctor on what she thought about the following quote –

“The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease.” – Voltaire. 

Pat came the reply: “At least in the Indian context, this should be true.” 😛 😛

Jokes apart, did you know that Laughter,

  • Stimulates the immune system.
  • Aids in reducing pain, helps in longer/faster pain relief.
  • Reduces stress and the ailments that might arise due to it.
  • Increases heart rate immediately, but reduces it eventually leading to better respiratory movement and relaxation.
  • Increases the chances of women trying to get pregnant through IVF.
  • Reduces the chances of heart disease.
  • Controls blood sugar levels for diabetics patients.
  • And much more . . . Source: 1, 2.

These are a small list of the therapeutic benefits offered by laughter; inter-personal and psychological benefits are much more.  No wonder people prefer humorous people, situations, stories, movies, etc. Stand up comedians are in demand nowadays, and there are laughter clubs where people go to deliberately laugh their hearts out.

We love laughing not only because it makes us happy, but also because there are many health/medical benefits!!

During a recent seminar, I met Fif Fernandes and Hamish of MeDi Clown Academy, who are advocating laughter therapy through medical clowning for patients, and also for nurses, doctors and everyone else as laughter helps us stay healthy and work better. Laughter as a therapy is particularly beneficial to children in hospitals.

One can even become a ‘Clown Doctor’ whose chief work is to make patients (children or adults) laugh their heart out. Performance skills like clowning, storytelling, magic, puppetry, etc. may be employed to create humor. Now that’s what I call a job 🙂

We ought to admit that hospitals are one of the gloomiest places we’d visit, probably after cemeteries, and hence they might as well do with some humor/laughter – not only for uplifting the mood of the patients, but also for the medical/therapeutic benefits.

MeDi Clown Academy based out of The Integrated Township – Auroville wants to promote medical/therapeutic clowning in India. For details refer to the MeDi Clown Academy website.

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctors book.” – Irish proverb.

Are you laughing enough? If not, you’ll have to remember to laugh more & often!

Destination Infinity

12 Comments

  • SG

    Very good post. As you said, laughter is the best medicine. Every hospital should have a “Laughter Department” with a few consultants/performers.

    • Rajesh K

      Yes. High time medical colleges do more research and offer specialization in this subject, and high time hospitals consider integrating this into their patient care.

      Destination Infinity

  • KP

    This is no laughing matter!!It is a serious post stressing the importance of laughing as a therapy or habit.I have witnessed people assemble and laugh their hearts out for their good health.Thank you Rajesh. Your posts have abundant variety and new information.

    • Rajesh K

      Initially when I saw people assemble and laugh for no reason, I was amused and shocked. But eventually I understood it was a therapy!

      Writing this post also reminded me that my blog has lost a bit of humor in the last few months. Need to catch up soon 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  • Sandhya Kumar

    I have read about the ‘Laughing clubs’ in Chennai. Must visit it once!

    My friend who is in Pune says that every Sunday morning her friends and neighbours gather together, stand in a circular shape, lift the hands up and just laugh loudly, it seems…as a therapy! We should start doing it here too! Interesting subject.

  • Prashant

    Laughter is defintely a must in our daily lives especially when we load it so much with stress and other tensions.

    As someone said ” A day without laughter is a day wasted”. I have never heard about the Mediclown academy, interesting work for sure!

    • Rajesh K

      I have realized that it is required for us to deliberately inject laughter/happiness via some fun activities in order to balance out the stress and work related issues. When we do that, our work efficiency actually improves!

      Destination Infinity

  • Jeevan

    I think we forget to laugh these days so that we need medical help 🙂 There’s also saying in Tamil Vaaivittu siricha noi vittu pogum… Wish many hospitals implement this and doctors and nurses are taught to laugh rather being stern always. he he..