Art therapy is a type of therapy that is often used by physicians and mental health professionals to help people who have suffered from certain mental and emotional upsets. By participating in art therapy, the patient is able to express through his artwork the feelings that he is dealing with internally. Often, it may be too difficult for a patient to express certain traumas to their therapist during session, but the unspoken process of art-making can provide that expressive relief that they need.
Doctors and mental health professionals have long understood the benefits of art therapy when it comes to dealing with mental and emotional difficulties. Studies are now showing that art therapy also has a positive effect on people’s physical well being too.
In February 2015, some interesting results of a study conducted at the University of California Berkeley were announced. This study attempted to measure what physical benefits were accrued for a person who experienced wonder. One of the events that was used to bring about a sense of wonder was the viewing of powerful images of art.
Researchers found that when people experienced wonder while viewing art, the level of cytokine interleukin 6 dropped. This substance indicates whether or not there is inflammation in the body. When the level of this substance is elevated, a person might be at risk for diabetes and heart disease.
This is not the only study that has been conducted that demonstrates the power of art to make a person healthier. Drexel University has been conducting a long-term study that assess the impact that art classes are having on those who provide care for patients with cancer.
This study has demonstrated that those participating in the art classes have a lower level of cortisol in the body after creating an art project. The study has also found lower levels of stress and stress-related diseases in those who are engaged in the artistic process.
Both viewing great works of art and creating art of one’s own appears to make a positive impact on both the mind and the body. Those in the mental health field are encouraging people to take some time out of their busy schedules and go to a museum and see some great works of art. People are encouraged to create something of their own as well to promote better overall health.