The joy effect


We believe in the power of humour and laughter and its positive impact on the wellbeing of people in times of hardship and crisis.

No matter at what age or for what reason, life can sometimes bring us face to face with feelings of dreariness and loneliness, evoking moments of anxiety, fear and despair. This might be how an infant in hospital about to undergo major surgery experiences the situation or how a disabled teenager fighting to stay strong after a car crash lives their worst nightmares when told they may never walk again. 

But when a smile or a few notes of music are shared, when colours emerge and feelings of happiness fill the room, then you can actually sense that something positive is taking place..... our clown doctors are on the move. They live right in the moment, caring passionately for all those who need love and a bit of uplifting. They improvise as they go from bedside to bedside, connecting with those who are ready to reach out. They spread the spirit of joy from the most remote places on earth to the clinic down the road. Yes, the power of humour and laughter can indeed positively influence the wellbeing of people in times of hardship and crisis.

Why clowns?

The figure of the clown greatly contributes to the empowerment of vulnerable groups. People can easily relate to and connect with the clown, a light-hearted and emotional character who constantly faces personal and emotional challenges. The real power of the clown, however, lies in the ability to successfully deal with failures and turn them into personal victories.

By reversing weak aspects into strong ones, healthcare clowning offers essential tools to aid in problem solving, acceptance and adaptation – all vital elements needed to empower people and help them manage their momentary circumstances.

©Sebastian Philipp
Female doctor talking to male healthcare clown
©Niko Havranek

Clowns & science

RED NOSES’ work is supported by solid scientific evidence. A growing number of rigorous experiments and studies conclude that clowndoctors have a genuine, quantifiable impact.

Children who receive a clown visit at the hospital have less anxiety and fear, feel less pain during invasive operations, and report higher levels of general well-being. The Joy Effect is real!

Learn more

Healthcare clowning international meeting (HCIM)

The art of clowning : Connecting culture, health and science

In spring 2018, Red Noses Clowndoctors International colleagues, healthcare workers and medical experts were invited to the largest forum ever for healthcare-clowning. The Healthcare Clowning International Meeting (HCIM) 2018 was the largest conference ever over the topic of „Clowns in the healthcare system“. Discussions were among other things over the difference between the application of clown doctors, Clown intervention from the view of the patients, the role of clowns in society, the scientific study of healthcare clowning as well as the challenges and what hospital clown organizations must face in the future.  

To learn more, you can read our journal here

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