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Art Therapy For Cancer Patients: Why Making And Viewing Art Is Vital

benefits of art in hospitalsFor most of us, looking at a beautiful piece of art can be a calming, restorative experience. It’s no coincidence that thoughtfully hung nature photographs or beautiful still life paintings can create a more relaxing atmosphere; in fact, it’s scientifically proven to do so. Using artwork for hospitals is so key because it allows patients and their families to reduce anxiety or even minimize pain symptoms.

But the benefits of art in hospitals don’t stop with simply viewing these pieces. In 2013, Arts and Health Alliance found that more than half of the 129 veterans medical health centers they surveyed offered arts programming at their patients’ bedsides. For veterans dealing with physical and mental pain, making art a real priority during recovery is often essential.

That same year, researchers from the National Institutes of Health analyzed 27 different clinical trials concerning how creative arts therapies impacted the cancer patients, both in terms of their psychological symptoms and their overall quality of life. Their findings reaffirm all of the benefits of art in hospitals we already know to be true, but they also show how important making art can be in these situations. Overwhelmingly, the results showed that creative arts therapies (including drama therapy, music therapy, writing therapy, movement therapy, and visual arts therapy) resulted in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and pain for these patients and improved their quality of life overall.

The review also found that the effects on patients’ anxiety and depression lasted only for as long as these patients underwent treatment. However, the positive impact on pain actually continued even after therapy ended.

These patients were not necessarily artists, either. Just as a patient or family member does not need to be a trained artist to appreciate the beauty of wall art for hospitals, these individuals benefited from these therapies regardless of ability of talent. And unlike medications used to treat anxiety, depression, and pain, art has no negative side effects and can be used in conjunction with just about any other kind of treatment.

More and more facilities are starting to understand the many benefits of art in hospitals, both in regards to art that is displayed and art that is created by patients. To learn more about how one of our art consultants can help make your facility more conducive to healing, contact us today.