Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest.
Laughter is the best medicine
Recently, staff at ESE came together, thanks to one of our resident maintenance men, Joe Cacciottolo, and donated to a truly worthy cause, Dr. Klown.
Dr. Klown, founded in 2010, is an NGO which provides clown doctor services at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. Clown doctors, an idea popularised by the film Patch Adams starring the legendary Robin Williams, are not real doctors, but merely men and women from all walks of life who dedicate their free time to making children in hospital smile and laugh.
The benefits of laughter are well known and almost endless. From a purely social standpoint, it brings people together, makes us look more attractive and reduces conflict in our lives, and while it may seem like the old adage does not base itself in fact, there is actually a lot of scientific evidence to back the phrase laughter is the best medicine.
Whenever you laugh, consider the following health benefits:
It’s a form of stress relief, laughter relaxes your body as a whole and your muscles remain relaxed for up to 45 minutes after your fit.
It boosts the immune system, while decreasing stress hormones it also strengthens infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells, beefing up your protection against disease.
It releases endorphins! Those ‘happiness’ chemicals released in your body when you listen to music, eat chocolate, exercise or do other fun things, are also released when you laugh.
It protects the heart by increasing blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels, laughter may very well be protecting you against a heart attack or heart problems in general.
So quite clearly, Dr. Klown is doing a fantastic job, but how exactly do they go about it, and how can you join the organisation?
I spoke to Joe who gave me his reasons for joining and a bit of insight as to what it entails.
“I’ve always wanted to help people,” says Joe, known within Dr. Klown as Dr. Big “I wanted to go to places like Peru or Nigeria but unfortunately travelling is too expensive. My friend is a member of the organisation and suggested I visit the website and apply.”
“You start with a psychological assessment, to see whether the working environment is suitable for you, followed by an artistic assessment, to see if you’re ‘funny’ enough and it’s important to know how well you can interact with people, especially children,” says Joe. “Then you start the course.”
“It’s a 1,000 day course,” Joe jokes, “The course itself is one year and then there’s another two years of follow-ups.” He showed me an example of a workshop he will be attending which includes story-telling and character building, but other aspects covered include puppeteering, toy-making and balloon modelling. However, despite all the hours of training, the final say on whether a member of Dr. Klown is allowed to work in hospital remains the hospital administration’s.
Joe has attended numerous fundraising activities around Malta, including an activity organised by the Mellieha Sports Association, from which all proceeds went to charity and the Miss Malta Competition, during which Joanne Galea (Miss Malta 2014) started off the #noseon campaign, encouraging people to donate and don red noses to raise awareness.
It was a fantastic opportunity and we at ESE are glad to have been a part of it, not only were we able to help a good cause, but it also was an excuse to be a bit less serious at work, so join in the fun and put your #noseon!
For more information, visit www.drklown.org and like them on Facebook!
Focus on Fluency
merely (adverb) – just
all walks of life – all different jobs/professions
standpoint (noun) – a way of considering something / a point of view
adage (noun) – a saying and expression
to beef up (verb) – to strengthen
insight (noun) – a chance to understand and learn something
to entail (verb) – to involve
the final say – the last decision
to don (verb) – to wear
Author : Benjamin Charles Cassar
About the Author: Benjamin Charles Cassar is the Academic e-Resources Coordinator at ESE. He has taught a wide range of ages and levels since joining ESE in 2011 and enjoys travelling, reading and writing when time allows.
Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest. Please feel free to write to us with any comments, suggestions or any articles you may have written and would like to share with us and our students.