Clowns are serious medicine in Israel,
They may be a bunch of clowns, but they’re attracting some serious attention in Israel.
During the past few years, Israeli clowns have been popping into hospital operating rooms and intensive-care units with balloons and kazoos in hand, teaming up with doctors to develop laughter therapies they say will help disorders including pain and even infertility.
This is not how things are done in most of the world’s hospitals. Clowns often visit pediatric wards to cheer up young patients, but in most places the clowning ends where the medicine begins. When it comes time for a child to get a shot or go under the knife, the clowns step aside.
Israeli clowns thumb their shiny red noses at that approach. They quote studies that suggest a clown’s participation in treatments can help patients—especially kids—endure painful procedures and speed their healing.
Israel’s hospital clowning guild, Dream Doctors, founded 10 years ago, is the leading advocate for infusing more medicine into the artistry.
“It’s not just putting on a red nose, floppy shoes and playing a ukulele,” said Dr. Arthur Eidelman, recently retired chief of pediatrics at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and chair of the Dream Doctors’ scientific committee. “We see medical clowns as an integral part of the healthcare team.”
One Israeli study, published last year in a leading reproductive science journal, Fertility and Sterility, suggested that a woman’s chances of getting pregnant after in vitro fertilization rose from 20.2% to 36.4% if a clown was brought in to entertain and relax her immediately after the obstetrician implanted a fertilized egg.
Another study, conducted by the head of pediatrics at a northern Israeli hospital, found that if there was a clown in the room, children with urinary tract infections didn’t need sedation to keep still during an imaging scan. The clown would make a deal with a young patient that both would simply freeze during the scan.
About 25 Israeli medical centers keep professional clowns on hand. One Israeli university offers what it calls the world’s first full-time degree program for medical clowning, part of an effort to standardize training for the profession.
Finally, a medical school that Outliers has a fighting chance of getting into. Mom will be so proud.
For those desperate to be in tune
Sound the alarm! Erin Gotz, a tuning fork healer in Dubuque, has received a cease-and-desist letter from the Iowa Board of Medicine.
The Des Moines Register reports that Gotz was warned last week by the state’s medical establishment to stop using tuning forks to diagnose health conditions. The letter cited by the newspaper says Gotz would “prescribe a high-dose vitamin regimen” following her acoustically deduced conclusions.
“The board has serious concerns that the use of such high-dose vitamins may be toxic and could cause serious harm to your clients,” the letter continued.
And while you’re at it, knock off whatever you’re doing with crystals, too, the medical board said.
However, Outliers can report that great deals on medico-acoustic equipment are still to be had online even if your local sound-healer is driven out of business by the folks at the state medical board.
For example, the Tuning Fork Shop is offering a steal on a seven chakra tuning fork set for only $110 for U.S. residents. (Rubber mallet free with purchase!) But for those who prefer a more airborne solution, there’s the seven chakra wind chime set for $190. For a more basic approach, the DNA nucleotides chime set is only $115 and “carefully constructed to activate body chemicals that are the very essence of life—cytosine, thymine, adenine and guanine.”
That certainly activates Outliers’ own bovine effluent detector.
“The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage. It is possible that early exposure to antibiotics primes children for obesity later in life.”
—Professor Martin Blaser of New York University in the Telegraph on a study he led that found possible links between
overuse of antibiotics in livestock and weight gain.
Dream Doctors medical clown Penny Hanuka, known as Dr. Fifi, speaks on the phone as she entertains Yael, a 2-year-old girl at the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, central Israel.
Need a tuneup?