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“A clown is like an aspirin except that it works twice as fast.” - Groucho Marx

While the Clown Doctors bring joy to the many children they visit, they are also an integral part of the healing process for children.

The healing power of humour has been recognised since antiquity. Research conducted around the world has provided evidence of the physiological and psychological benefits of laughter to health and well-being.

Dr Peter Spitzer, general practitioner, Medical Director and Co-Founder of The Humour Foundation has this to say about the effects of laughter:

“Plenty of studies have shown that laughter can combat many common ills. For instance, research suggests that humour may lower blood pressure and release endorphins. Laughter is also thought to improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system, heighten the immune system and make the heart stronger.”

Research shows that Clown Doctors make a noticeable difference to a child's stay in hospital. Recovery rates can also be influenced.

The Benefits of Laughter

Laughter:

  • relaxes the muscles
  • helps the immune system
  • reduces pain
  • reduces stress
  • helps promote a positive outlook
  • helps promote a feeling of well-being; and
  • has a positive effect on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, similar to exercise.

Humour that is based on caring and empathy also:

  • creates bonds between people
  • is nourishing
  • helps people cope with difficult situations
  • is supportive
  • gives people cognitive control; and
  • provides diversion.

Click here to find out more about research findings into the benefits of laughter.

“There is not a lot of laughter in medicine, but there is a lot of medicine in laughter.”  - Willace the Clown