Sunday, July 24, 2011

Arts in Medicine – For the Health of it!

“If we can demonstrate that emotion affects outcomes and art affects emotion, then a logical path to better outcomes would involve more attention to engaging people in artistic pursuits.”  Harlan Krumholz MD, SM

This past week I saw a video of an amazing program taking place at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. What began as a program to reduce the stress in hospitalization is now a philosophy of care for the institution. The hospital is using dance, music, drama, creative writing and the visual arts to enhance the patient experience and healing. 

It is very difficult to get into the head of a suffering patient, but the arts serve as a vehicle to get there. It has been shown that just as words can hurt so can they heal. There is actual chemical/biological effect in the brain that comes from the written word. Music and dance therapy can change moods and change motion. When a patient hears the music and moves with it, the body and mind are moved, the pain is relieved and healing can even take place. “A 2006 study tested the saliva of college-aged singers before and after rehearsals. Singing appeared to raise their levels of salivary immunoglobulin, a substance that defends the respiratory tract against pathogens. And singers who were pleased with their performances had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone that is a marker for stress, in their saliva. In other words, artistic engagement doesn’t just make people feel better in the moment—it may protect their future health by boosting their immune systems.”

To read more about it, click on the links below:

 Find a way to express yourself………….for the health of it!

1 comment:

  1. Now, if we could get art back into schools!

    Amazing how much stress is relieved by doing something you love. The relief can even be measured, as the saliva test shows.

    More art, less stress!