Clown Doctors in New York

This article is about clown doctors in New York. They are not medical doctors, but more similar to shaman. In pediatric wards or emergency rooms they add comic relief and make hospitals more welcoming for children and their families. Clown type of activities originated from shamanist rituals.  Shamans and clowns are both similar because they can mediate chaos and create comfort for people under distress. They provide healing from a non-biomedical approach. In some historic pueblos, clowns were used for healing purposes. The Canadian Dakota thought that, Wapehton what they considered as clowns, to be the most powerful shaman.

In the article the differences between western and non-westernized medicine are explained. Westernized medicine is more black and white, it is seen as scientific and ordinary. In contrast non-westernized medicine is holistic and involves natural processes and the supernatural. Many people are unhappy with the biomedicine model found in westernized medicine and choose alternative treatments. They make the change to the holistic approach because it makes them feel that their whole person in being healed and taken care off.

In the hospitals the healers are the medical doctors and the clown doctors. The medical doctors had the highest status. They hold the most power and are the most affluent. The clown doctors have to respect and follow the guidelines the medical doctors created. The medical doctors use biomedicine when treating patients. The clown doctors use distractions and placebo effects to treat the patients. Their main focus is to make the patients and families as happy as possible.

New York hospitals work in an American culture. In western medicine biomedical in the most popular approach. In the hospitals that is the treatment given to all patients. The body and symptoms are treated mechanically. The patients are there so the medical doctors can “fix” them. The treatments are filled with medicines. When the clowns are added to the environment it makes the treatment more holistic and focused on happiness and laughter.

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