Dancers take part in a flash mob at Hadassah University Medical Center in Israel. Dancers take part in a flash mob at Hadassah University Medical Center in Israel. Dancers take part in a flash mob at Hadassah University Medical Center in Israel. (Photo: YouTube)

Flash mobs bring joy to hospital patients

Videos show how happy tunes help uplift spirits.

Imagine you're reading a newspaper in a hospital waiting room, and just as you're turning the page to read the latest sports scores, the guy across from you starts to burst out in song. Strange, but not as strange as when even more people – some bearing orchestral instruments – join in the fun.

You've just witnessed a flash mob. Hospitals serve as fertile ground for these heartwarming moments, where surprise song-and-dance routines can lift people's spirits during trying times.

Experts believe anxiousness and depression inhibit the body's natural ability to heal itself, and that introducing these joy-inducing moments can help patients. "You can't separate mind and body," Dr. Elliot Berlin, of the Los Angeles-based Berlin Wellness Group, told From The Grapevine. "The human body is its own best doctor. If the mind is feeling positive, the body can heal."

Below, we round up a few of our favorite hospital flash mobs from around the world.


United States

To celebrate Child Life Month, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia just released this video last week. It features the staff and patients singing along to Taylor Swift's popular "Shake it Off" anthem. "This is the most uplifting thing I've seen in a while," Cathy Rackowski wrote on the hospital's Facebook page. Up next? The kids are now hoping for a visit from Taylor herself.


Israel

Patients and their families were treated to surprise symphony when 40 students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance took a classical approach to the flash mob. As they performed Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Flowers," passersby joined in the fun. The concert was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event that originated in Israel in 2007 and now takes place in more than 50 countries.


Brazil

The Sahara Children's Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil knows how to make its visitors happy. While a flash mob performs a song with South American flair, everyone from kids and orderlies to janitors and receptionists get in on the action. Oh ... and there's a singing surgeon, too.


Canada

Heard of the song "Let it Go"? No, not the one from Disney's "Frozen," but the 2013 version from Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip-hop with a variety of other styles. When the doctors and nurses at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, Canada, started dancing to the upbeat song, they got their kid patients involved as well. "Many of the children in the video have undergone brain and spinal surgery, but they don't let it stop them from dancing their hearts out," Franti said.


Belgium

Health care workers performed a flash mob dance in the country's biggest hospital. The medley of seven songs included Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." The musical number ends with everyone surreptitiously disappearing into the crowd.


British Virgin Islands

When Pharrell Williams' ultimate catchy tune "Happy" was released, lots of videos of everyday people dancing to the upbeat song were posted to YouTube. Indeed, it was the best-selling song in the United States last year. But the song's positive vibe carries a special resonance when it's performed at the Peebles Hospital in the British Virgin Islands, where its positive message left the patients smiling.


India

India is famous for its epic Bollywood musical numbers, so is it any surprise that the mob of medical staff from Jubilee Mission Medical College & Research Institute know how to bust a move? The dance number was choreographed by the members of "Kronoz," a dance crew made up of students from Jubilee Mission Medical College in India.

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