As the saying goes, ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Cheering people up does wonders not only for mental health, but physically, too.
One doctor from California is taking this ethos one step further, not only treating his patients medically but cheering them up by getting down and busting a move.
In an attempt to lift the spirits of one of his patients after an operation, 42-year-old Tony, from Orange County, decided to break out into dance. Since then, he’s been shaking his moneymaker, and his dancing has become an integral part of his methods of treatment.
Insisting smiling and being more interactive is ‘more powerful’ than some pain medication, Tony bops, shimmies and frolics with all of his patients at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), earning him the nickname ‘Dancing Doc’.
Check out some of Tony’s moves here:
Hoping to protect the ‘magic of childhood’ in all of his patients, despite some of their conditions, Tony pledges to continue dancing throughout his medical career.
Tony, who’s also an army veteren, said:
Dancing with patients is important because it adds levity and joy to the hospital experiences.
What I’m doing is right in with CHOC’s commitment to preserving the magic of childhood and ensuring patients don’t have to put their childhoods on pause.
There’s more to just cheering patients up and loving to dance though, as there’s actually some science behind it all too.
Studies show, when people laugh, smile and become more interactive, the effect on the brain is more powerful than some pain medications.
It has a clinical value as it allows me to assess a patient’s physical abilities, mobility and recovery process.
I recently had a patient who was reluctant to get out of bed after surgery, but when I came in one morning to see him, an invitation to dance got him out of bed and moving.
After we finished dancing, he kept going and starting doing laps around the hospital floor – it was awesome to see.
His moves have earned Tony some notoriety in the area as well, with patients specifically requesting for him to be their doctor.
Nurses have told me that when patients get admitted to the unit, they will ask for me specifically. I’m not formally trained in dance, but I’ve always loved music and movement.
If I can help to instil a love of music and dance in my patients, in addition to improving their outcomes and outlooks, that’s a wonderful thing.
There’s nothing better than seeing a smile on my patient’s faces or to hear them laugh – it’s self-care for me too. I will definitely continue to dance with my patients – it’s become an integral part of my treatment and care for children.
Nothing is more important than the health of a child, and I am so lucky to play an integral role in that.
His methods may be unconventional, but it looks like he’s getting results! Keep it up Tony.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.