The Healing Arts

Clinical studies confirm what religion has long suggested: creative expressions don’t just comment on the human experience, they help transcend physical suffering. With hundreds of hospitals implementing some form of art therapy program, it seems science and art go hand in hand when it comes to patient care.

In fact, evidence shows that art complements, and sometimes surpasses, conventional practices for lowering anxiety, managing pain, and stimulating overall healing. One study found lullabies as effective as sedatives in calming toddlers before brain scans or other tests; the music also reduced hospital stays for premature infants. Writing seems to curtail symptoms associated with chronic disease, promote immune response, and lower stress, according to various studies.

Promote your own health with these ideas:

Listen to music daily. Studies conclude that musical stimulation actually engages disease–fighting immune cells, and encourages the release of feel–good neurochemicals like endorphins and dopamine.

Try sculpting, or paint a self–portrait. One study found that cancer patients experienced decreased stress and pain when they engaged in a meditative art program that allowed them to manipulate clay and splash color onto canvas.

Keep a journal. Plenty of research points to the positive benefits of putting pen to paper. Not only does it de–clutter thoughts, it can relieve tension, inspire problem solving, and offer insight into psychological and emotional burdens that stifle wellness.

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