W3 Reflection: Clown Doctors

Recent studies show that American’s spend more money on alternative therapies as opposed to primary care.  Medicine is an important component in the healing and curing process, but it is not the only remedy.  Instead of focusing on just the disease itself, the individuals feelings about their illness should also be taken into account as part of the healing process.  The article I read highlighted a group of five clown doctors who go around a New York City hospital and entertain ailing and hurt children.  Similar to Shamans, the clowns dress in funky costumes complete with a white coat and red nose in hopes of brightening people’s days.   They use magic tricks, balloons, bubbles, jokes, and all sorts of techniques to help make people smile.  But the clowns do not just focus on helping sick kids, they also attempt to amuse their worried and stressed families.  For example, the clowns in New York tried to calm the parents of a young daughter in a coma by singing to her.  The hospital even credits the clowns to helping bring two kids out of coma.  The article also discuses the many similarities between Shamans and clown doctors.  Aside from the fun clothing, Shamans and clowns both rely on the humor of puppets, singing, dancing, and magic tricks to help ward off the ‘spirits’ that cause illness.  I’m not sure of their social status, but I’m sure they are highly respected for their ability to run around the hospital and heal people with their laughs.  The clown doctors are in the folk sector of the healing system.  In the United States, the folk sector is considered to be in the realm of alternative medicine, including: acupuncture, osteopaths, and aromatherapy.  In non-Western cultures like the Chinese, it is the ideal practice.  However, it is becoming increasingly popular here with the growing days.  In alternative medicine, the healers do not just focus on curing someone biologically.  They promote a healthy and comfortable state of mind so someone can heal better and faster, and perhaps change their illness experience into an optimistic one.



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