The smile is essential for those who are struggling. Even more if against the disease. The smile is able to strengthen the immune system and improves the body’s reaction to therapies. During this period of restrictions, a smile shortens the distances, especially for the young hospitalized. Covid-19 still makes free access to hospitals impossible, but to ensure that smiles are not lost in the lanes, a group of clown-doctors has found a way to continue its mission: online, on video channels and social networks.
This is the idea of Magicaburla Onlus, an association of clown therapy animated by actors, improvisers, clowns and dancers who choose to offer time and art to the smile of hospitalized children. During the long coronavirus emergency, in the Bambino Gesù hospitals (oncohematology departments, pediatric day hospital and Nora department), Policlinico Tor Vergata (high pediatric specialist clinics) and Sant’Eugenio (high pediatric specialist clinic) will be personalized video calls and videos uploaded on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube) to keep alive the contact between clowns and young patients.
Magicaburla Onlus (www.magicaburla.it) is an association born in 2008 and since then we have never stopped bringing clown therapy to hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers – explains Cristiana De Maio, president of the association and co-worker – In this currently we cannot be physically present in the hospital because of the health emergency that the country is facing. But this does not prevent us from continuing to spread clown therapy through the means we have available. On the contrary, the desire to support children who find themselves living days of solitude in already isolated conditions and suffering to accompany them on their healing journey is even stronger. It is essential for us to give those children who are experiencing a difficult hospitalization a moment of normal life. A world of lightheartedness, of smiles, of games, because this belongs to children.
Several studies show how clown therapy helps improve the quality of children’s hospital stay. Above all, it helps to overcome the fear of the white coat. It also has positive effects on parents who as far as possible feel a little less anxious and stressed – in those conditions the smile of their child is an extraordinary panacea. But the clowns in shirts also ease the tension between the operators: doctors and nurses as parents and children recognize the presence of affectionate help, and in some departments they really feel the need. Not to mention that, chemically, the production of endorphins stimulated by a good mood significantly strengthens the immune defenses of the young. And not just children.
This is why the Magicaburla association has activated the initiative Il sorriso che abbraccia – The smile that embraces – : the series production of videos for children to be posted on social networks, so that they can enjoy the isolation of passive Comicotherapy – basically smile as spectators. Clown-doctors will continue their mission on the net without sparing their repertoire: fairy tales taken from Inventastorie with Magicaburla, puppets, gags and laughter pills.
Within the framework of the project, the 30 Minutes of Smiles initiative is essential. The free personalized video call service. Using the now widespread Zoom app, children can meet the Magicaburla artists live. The service is dedicated to hospitalized children, but also to those who are being treated at home or in the home. It is available two days a week: on Monday from 10 to 12 and on Thursday from 15 to 17. In this way passive comic therapy becomes active again: the little ones can interact and play, and, as far as possible, feel good.