Art Supports Healing, Activates Hope and Promotes Thriving
“Health and wellness” are two key aspects in most everyone's life. They also happen to be two key markets in today’s communication industry. So while the conventional model finds pharmacies pushing the pills, insurance companies offering protection and hospitals and doctors providing knowledge, the question remains: Is that really what it takes to get people well? Just as I was wondering this, my good friend Jose Said Osio invited me to a conference titled, “Healing Journeys.” He said, “This will open your eyes to the value of illustration in this new Health 2.0 – a value understood by few agencies or design groups," adding, "let alone healthcare providers.” It was an amazing experience. Attendees were cancer patients, family members, doctors and nurses, and there was a presentation by amazing board-certified medical oncologists alongside caring nurses and psychotherapists. It really addressed the idea of “healing the whole person” – physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. So where does art come in? What are our creative opportunities here? Well, plenty. Patients don't stay in hospitals as long as they used to, and art may be part of the reason why. It's been proven to accelerate the healing process and quicken turnaround. And that's good for everybody. Doctors like Jeremy Geffen, author of “The Seven Levels of Healing” and “The Journey Though Cancer”, and Bellruth Naparstek, creator and founder of “Health Journey,” emphasize the body’s physiology changes as we go from worry to relaxation, from fear to inspiration – and that the shift can be triggered through the use of art. Art, they say, physically alters the brain by accessing a different brain wave pattern. This, in turn, affects the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance and neurotransmitters. Eventually (ideally), art affects every cell in the body and reshapes our physiology into a more healing environment. Pretty neat. Arching your eyebrows? Read this: How Art Heals (Scientifically Speaking)
- · Exposure to art slows down blood flow, reversing a typical stress response. Normally agitated blood vessels can contract in response to images of imagination set to music, saving as much as 150cc of blood when administered before surgery.
- · Non-verbal, imaginative images evoke a measurable response – and one that is more universal than what is evoked by written language.
- · Color can be used to convey a sense of joy, beauty and simplicity – all proven therapeutic emotions for patients.
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Value Points To Consider And Harp On
- · Art can be the catalyst in developing cultural programs for hospitals, helping expose the staff to the wide array of patients they serve.
- · No one would argue that our lives are bombarded with stress, which is known to trigger or worsen illness. By allowing and encouraging us to linger in moments of beauty, art can reverse this process.
- · Art is one way to make patients feel more comfortable and at ease when they walk into a hospital – a mind state that's obviously much more conducive to healing.
- · Medical research proves that blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration are all positively affected by exposure to the arts. You can look it up and everything.
- · Art-related reduction of stress, lessening of fears and improved communication all contribute to the total picture of health.
The art of healing is all about building a more effective doctor-patient relationship. With illustration – a tool that can lift patient and staff morale while cultivating feelings of love, gratitude, protection and support – the arts create safer, more supportive and functional environments. And that goes whether you're in a holistic wellness center or an old-school healthcare facility. The science is there. Art has the power to heal and help. Will you use it as directed?