Clown Doctors in NYC

In the article, “Clown Doctors: Shaman Healers of Western Medicine” the author references the similarities between these “clown doctors” and shamans. The clown doctors provide entertainment and a source of distraction when they visit their patients, which are generally children. Such entertainment includes juggling, magic tricks, sword swallowing, the use of puppets, and acrobatics. A shaman deals with healing the mental and cultural aspect of a patient. They perform ceremonies, such as burning of paper, sacrifice of animals, dancing, etc., to help heal the patients ailments and to ward of bad spirits.

The clown doctors and shamans work side by side with regular physicians to help improve the health of their patients. Most shaman/clown doctors have the same access to patients as the clergymen do. This allows for a wide variety of patients to have direct interaction with the clown doctors, therefore allowing the possibility of helping to better the health of those patients visited. The clown doctors are involved with the folk sector because of the parallelism between the clown doctors and the shaman. Also, the folk sector includes the involvement of the family to help increase the chances of recovering. The clown doctors do not claim to “cure” anything. They provide an opportunity for the patient to temporarily escape reality and distract them from their health. The clown doctors not only assist with the bettering of the psychology of the patients, but also with the psychology of the patient’s family members.

The article states, “One cannot deny the efficacy of physicians compared to shamans, but integrating doctors with complementary practitioners such as clown doctors may render Western medicine even more effective.”  The introduction of clown doctors into the medical field could prove to have a more beneficial effect on the improvement of patients than with just doctors alone.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. pucket10 says:

    Taylor,

    It is interesting to hear of clown doctors interacting in such a close environment as medical physicians in hospitals, dealing mainly with children. It seems from a perspective of a physician that these types of healing practices would be ill advised and contribute essentially no physical healing of the body. Understanding that this practice is more of a spiritual and mental healing clears up some of the bias a physician might have with involving these types of healing practices, however it does seem like there is a legitimacy behind this type of healing in certain instances. For example, if a patient has a terminal illness and is likely to see death in the near future, this could be a significant mental optimism created that relaxes and eases anxiety or other psychological stress. Ultimately, the health of the patient is not likely to be negatively effected by any way through this health practice, unless the practice becomes unsanitary (animals, etc.) and harmful to the patient. This type of practice could prove to be very effective with keeping a optimistic mindset as well as happier and calmer in given situations. This combined with the physicians ability to physically heal stigmas or other health ailments could make for better outcomes and healthier and happier patients.

  2. pucket10 says:

    Taylor,

    It is interesting to hear of clown doctors interacting in such a close environment as medical physicians in hospitals, dealing mainly with children. It seems from a perspective of a physician that these types of healing practices would be ill advised and contribute essentially no physical healing of the body. Understanding that this practice is more of a spiritual and mental healing clears up some of the bias a physician might have with involving these types of healing practices, however it does seem like there is a legitimacy behind this type of healing in certain instances. For example, if a patient has a terminal illness and is likely to see death in the near future, this could be a significant mental optimism created that relaxes and eases anxiety or other psychological stress. Ultimately, the health of the patient is not likely to be negatively effected by any way through this health practice, unless the practice becomes unsanitary (animals, etc.) and harmful to the patient. This type of practice could prove to be very effective with keeping a optimistic mindset as well as happier and calmer in given situations. This combined with the physicians ability to physically heal stigmas or other health ailments could make for better outcomes and healthier and happier patients.

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