Besides the very obvious positive shift in the overall mood of our patients and their families, the entertainment that Ibtissama brings actually offers more that just fun and humor.
In many scholarly articles humor and laughter have proven to be very potent “medicines”. They have shown to produce positive effects on pain relief, cardiovascular wellbeing, stress relief, immune system boosting, and respiratory health 1.

Years before, in his famous article and book, The Anatomy of Illness, Norman Cousins clarifies the relationship between humor and health. He states that 10 minutes of laughter would give him 2 hours of pain-free sleep from Ankylosing Spondylitis and a decrease in Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) 2.

Other studies also examined the influence of the Clown Doctors’ presence with the child and parents during the preoperative period. It was found that the active presence of a Clown Doctor, in addition to one of the child’s parents significantly lowered the anxiety of both child and parent preoperatively 3.

Similarly, psychosocial care which includes hospital clowning was found to be a protective factor against developmental delays, emotional withdrawal and behavioral regression 4.

Play and humor are thus integral parts of a child’s wellbeing, and need to be attended to all through children’s hospitalization.

1. Humour Foundation [Online]. Research findings. http://www.humourfoundation.com.au/index.php?page=150 Retrieved Jul. 28, 2009.

2. Cousins N. (1976). Anatomy of an illness (as perceived by the patient). New England Journal of Medicine; 295: 1458-1463.

3. Laura Vagnoli, Simona Caprilli, Arianna Robiglio and Andrea Messeri (2005). Clown doctors as a treatment for preoperative anxiety in children: a randomized, prospective study. Pediatrics. Vol. 116 No. 4. e563-e567.

4. Donna Koller and Camilla Gryski (2008). The life threatened child and the life enhancing clown: towards a model of therapeutic clowning. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM). Volume 5, Number 1. Pp. 17-25.