No one needs to be told that art is healing. I find it can cheer me up when I’m just having a bad day. I even tell coworkers who are stressed out, “Go over to Fort Point and look at some art.”
But for those who care more about data than folk wisdom, there is research.
Genevra Pittman writes at Pacific Standard, “Music, art, and dance therapy may relieve anxiety and similar symptoms among people with cancer, according to a new analysis of past studies.
“Researchers who analyzed results from trials conducted between 1989 and 2011 said the benefits tied to creative arts therapies were small, but similar to those of other complementary techniques such as yoga and acupuncture. …
“The analysis included 27 studies of close to 1,600 people who were randomly assigned to receive some form of creative arts therapy or not, during or after cancer treatment. Patients with breast cancer or blood cancers—such as leukemia and lymphoma—made up the majority of study participants. Music, art, and dance therapy programs varied in how often sessions were conducted and over what time span. …
“On the whole, people with cancer who were assigned to creative arts treatments reported less depression, anxiety, and pain and a better quality of life during the programs than those who were put on a wait list or continued receiving usual care.” More.
I didn’t get into art therapy when I had cancer, but I’m sure I would have liked it. I did have a booklet created by past patients that contained daily readings, and more often than not the choices hit the spot. The patients named the booklet “No Other Way but Through.”
Photo: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Art therapy program