The Healing Power of Art

Posted Aug 25, 2014 | Posted in News & Events

child-paintingArt can affect someone’s mood and elicit feelings of hope, peace and joy. This can have such a big impact on a patient who has been in the hospital for weeks, or someone who has to sit through long sessions of chemotherapy. When you’re stuck in a place that’s a constant reminder of sickness and disease, being surrounded by beautiful images can lift your mood and actually help with the healing process.

Many hospitals are beginning to realize the importance of artwork, and are putting programs in place to decorate patient rooms and treatment areas. And Johnston Health is doing the same. Our Art for Hope Campaign aims to raise $10,000 to provide new artwork and paint for the our hematology and oncology center in Smithfield. This makeover coincides with the start of a new education and wellness program funded by a $5,000 grant from the North Carolina Community Foundation.

Many studies have shown the positive effect of artwork on patients. An article in the Wall Street Journal cites evidence from several studies such as:

  • Patients who are exposed to nature images experience less postoperative anxiety and are likely to need less and/or weaker painkillers
  • Emergency department waiting rooms that displayed nature images were more likely to have reduced noise levels and less restless behavior
  • Patients at the Cleveland Clinic who viewed abstract and nonrepresentational imagery reported a positive effect on their mood, stress levels, comfort and expectations

Studies are also aimed at identifying the different types of effects that different art styles produce. For example, another study cited by the Wall Street Journal showed that images of fearful or angry faces, ambiguous subject matter and lack of realism elicit negative emotional responses.

An article in U.S. News and World Report shows that not only can viewing art be beneficial to patients, but creating art can also help with the healing process. That’s why Johnston Health is starting art therapy as part of the new education and wellness program for oncology patients.

Pediatric cancer patients who paint and draw report lower levels of pain, and patients with dementia can improve their memory by practicing music. Art gives patients a distraction from being sick, and allows them to focus their energy on something positive. It’s also a way for patients to express themselves when it might be difficult to confide in friends and family.

Whether it’s looking at paintings, drawing a picture or playing music, it’s clear that art has many positive effects on patients. We’re excited to bring that healing power to Johnston Health, and you can help by making a donation today to the Art for Hope Campaign.

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2 responses to “The Healing Power of Art”

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