David Copperfield, master illusionist and founder of Project Magic and Daniel Rosenthal, discuss teaching David's therapeutic magic tricks to physically-challenged children and adults. 

Daniel performing in 2007.

“This is the first time I’ve heard laughter here.”

This sentence inspired the birth of MagicIsMedicine.org.

Hi! I’m Daniel Rosenthal.

People ask why I started MagicIsMedicine.org – magicians, physicians and medical staff sharing the healing power of magic with patients.

When I was eight, I gave my first shows for cancer patients in Kaiser Hospital’s Infusion Clinic in Santa Rosa, California. I’d never seen so many sick, fearful children. Many were bald and needed wheelchairs. I was shocked, but managed to hold it in.

 

Each time I performed, I saw worries disappear and laughter appear. Magic takes patients on adventures – and they don’t even have to leave their hospital beds or wheelchairs. 

 

After one of my hospital shows, a chemotherapy patient told me:  “This was the first time I’ve heard laughter here.” That day in 2007, MagicIsMedicine.org was born.

 

 

As requests from hospitals grew, I recruited physicians and magicians to advise me.

 

That’s when I met Dr. Robert Albo, a respected surgeon and magician. Dr. Albo became my role model. He encouraged me to become a medical doctor who can perform magic for patients. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a physician.

I perform magic in hospitals for hundreds of patients - from wounded vets in the San Francisco VA to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and at UCSF Family House and Stanford’s Ronald McDonald House.

Dr. Albo suggested I meet David Copperfield. This renowned illusionist taught me special therapeutic tricks he’d designed to help patients’ neuromuscular dexterity, cognition and memory.

I now also train physicians and their partnering physical therapists to use therapeutic magic to help stroke, Parkinson’s to muscular dystrophy and ALS patients regain coordination and cognition.

MagicIsMedicine.org sends volunteer professional magicians to perform in hospitals from California to Florida to New York. Each show is different depending on the patients’ needs.

The late Dr. Robert Albo, clinical professor of surgery at UCSF School of Medicine, encouraged Daniel to become a physician.

Dr. Marian Diamond, the late neuroscience pioneer, discusses therapeutic magic and the brain with Daniel.

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