Magic, music and art helping kids heal
They are working professionals by day and volunteer magicians by night. They come far and wide, to share the gift of magic with patients; and all they seek in return is laughter and a smile. That’s the mission of the magicians from Open Heart Magic.
Open Heart Magic, a non-profit organization, partners with Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., to provide magic at the bedside to pediatric patients receiving care at the hospital, and with the hint of the magical word “abracadabra,” the children temporarily forget they’re actually in a hospital receiving care.
“Humor has been found to increase pain tolerance, temporarily reduce stress, improve the immune system, and foster relaxation,” says Dr. Douglas Koltun, medical director of the pediatric rehabilitation program at Advocate Children’s Hospital.
In addition to amazing the patients with magic, the magicians often teach the children how to do their own trick to share with their friends and families.
“Practicing the magic needed for the task not only improves coordination, but also boosts confidence,” Dr. Koltun says. “These all help kids better cope with and participate in treatment.”
See the Open Heart Magic program in action, here.
The physicians and staff at Advocate Children’s Hospital have many other ways they help children better cope while staying in the hospital. Child Life specialists, who work in tandem with the health care team, often use art and music therapies to help reduce any anxiety they may have.
Art therapy helps patients better communicate with their care providers by utilizing self-expression to display their emotions during a hospitalization or pinpoint where the pain is felt.
In some cases, music therapy is also integrated in the care of patients to help the kids regain the mobility in their finger movement by playing the guitar, shaking a tambourine or playing on a drum-set. Child life specialists also work with children to develop lyrics to a familiar song that helps to reduce anxiety and stress the child may be experiencing.
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