I recently discovered a wonderful source for research on healing and the arts: The American Journal of Public Health. Several years ago, they published a piece titled "The Connection Between Art, Healing and Public Health. In this review, researchers analyzed more than 100 studies about the impact of art on health and the ability to heal. The studies included everything from music, the visual arts, expressive writing and dance.
Highlights from researchers describing the impact the arts had on patients include:
. "Reductions in stress and negative emotions."
. "improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones."
. "Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness."
. "Music therapy with cancer patients reduced pain, provided a form of relaxation and increased in-hospital patients' sense of control."
As we well know, chronic diseases are a nationwide burden and associated with chronic stress. Meditation, all forms of art, movement / exercise, creative writing and journaling, music, even specific tones help reduce this stress and provide relief from pain.