Healthcare Art: The Power of Art in Healing

With more and more studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, majority of the hospitals in the United States are giving arts a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

Aside from Hospitality sector of society—especially in Tourism, Art is presently innovating the healthcare scene. Healthcare Art is now fast becoming a trend in the western part of the world.

Since the millennium, medical facilities including hospitals, clinics, senior living residences, and dental and medical offices have started to recognize the importance of providing healing and aesthetically pleasing environments.

In 2006 a Department of Health Working Group on Arts and Health reported that the arts have ‘a clear contribution to make and offer major opportunities in the delivery of better health, wellbeing and improved experience for patients, service users and staff alike’.

In 2003, the Society for the Arts in Healthcare (SAH) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) determined the current level and characteristics of arts activities in healthcare (Wikoff, 2004).  The organizations have concluded that hospitals use the arts “to create a more uplifting environment” in addition to “create a welcoming atmosphere and build community relations.”

In 2008, already nearly 50% of all hospitals in the United States have arts programs. These means that hospitals, as well as the health workers are considering and discovering that art in general—including performance, music and poetry have profound healing effects. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are now working with artists and musicians to heal people of all ages with many conditions including cancer and AIDS.

Hospitals all over the world are incorporating music and art into patient care. In the distinct environment and vibes od a hospital, Arts aid in making the space contribute to a sense of place that fosters confidence, comfort, and healing. The goal of Healthcare Art is to inform a comprehensive design approach to create a healing environment.

Patterns of movement, exposure to natural light, inside-out views of natural settings, accommodations for patients and their families, colors, textures, technology, electronic media, art—all these have bigger impacts on patients, their families and health workers more than you can imagine.

“These are not just accoutrements or aesthetics anymore,” says Lisa Harris, a nephrologist and chief executive of Eskenazi Health, affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

Iva Fattorini, a dermatologist and global chairwoman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Arts & Medicine Institute, says that the aim “is to take your mind away from the disease and replace the time you are losing inside hospital with some beauty.”

Meanwhile, The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, carefully incorporates Arts to foster a “healing environment,” says Chrysanthe Yates, director of its Lyndra P. Daniel Center for Humanities in Medicine.

Patients’ reaction to Art

Anne Berry, aged 81 and a frequent visitor of hospitals for regular tests, says, “It makes me think of flying.” She visits Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital for procedures such as a mammogram and always takes time to look at the artworks. She has “white coat syndrome,” which makes her nervous about going to a doctor, but she says, “I have found the art and the environment at Eskenazi makes it less stress-inducing for me.”

Research suggests patients are positively affected by nature themes and figurative art with unambiguous, positive faces that convey a sense of security and safety.

A study back in 1993 found that patients exposed to a nature image experienced less postoperative anxiety and were more likely to take weaker painkillers than those who viewed an abstract image or no image.

A 2011 study found that nature images helped calm restless behavior and noise levels in two Texas emergency department waiting rooms.

In 2014, the Cleveland Clinic reported that patients surveyed on its contemporary collection—which includes abstract and nonrepresentational imagery by some prominent artists—reported a significant positive effect on their experience and on mood, stress, comfort and expectations.

Some patients in its survey reported they were motivated to get out of bed to view the artwork. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder reported the most significant positive improvement in mood.

Back in 2002, a study found that environmental sources play a role in overall patient satisfaction with an in-bed hospitalization. One of the respondents remarked, “It would be nice if they had more pictures.”

On the end of the spectrum, studies have also found that patients are likely to respond negatively to art with negative images or icons. Abstract art also often rates low in patient preferences compared with representational art.

A 2012 review of neuroscience studies published in the Health Environments Research & Design Journal found that images of fearful or angry faces, ambiguous subject matter, high novelty and unfamiliarity, lack of realism and sharp contours elicit negative emotional responses in the brain and suggested they should be avoided.

Art Consultation is important

 The field of healthcare offers a variety of ongoing opportunities for art consultants. The healthcare sector remains a steady and buoyant market due to population growth, population aging, and the need to update older facilities with new technology.

In hospitals, the goals of the design team are to incorporate the benefits of environmental sustainability while designing an uplifting environment conducive to healing. The artwork selected is theme based, with the most common theme being nature and its beauty.

For help with choosing art works, consultants, hospital curators and art committees turn to studies such as those gathered in the nonprofit Center for Health Design’s “Guide to Evidence-Based Art.”

Usually, art consultants working on healthcare projects are part of a design team, and a committee of decision makers such as the project manager, architect, interior designer, facilities manager, and administrators makes art selections.

How Can Art Innovate Your Business (Infographic)

As more and more marketing strategies are needed today, people is forgetting the long-believed notion that art is only for aesthetic and nothing more.

Today, one of the fast emerging marketing strategy for businesses in almost any industry is arts and how it draws more clients, more people and in return, more revenue. Thus, more companies are turning to artists when they need a fresh perspective on marketing and branding.

Business environment demands innovation and creativity today more than ever. Executives, as well as other business leaders, need to draw this innovation inspiration from a number of everyday creative sources such as music, theater and art.

Those who appreciate creativity in these forms are often more inspired and open-minded to non-linear approaches to business problem thinking. And having art pieces around them and in the office can spark those creative inspirations, thus aiding the business.

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How Does Art Stimulate The Brain?

Contrary to the common conception that the arts is just for plain aesthetics, it does more than serve the visual. In fact, numerous studies have proven the positive effects of art—looking at it and even making it, to our brain and overall mental health. Did you know that our brains are originally hardwired to process art? Some parts of the brain that are associated with contemplation are automatically sparked when viewing art, even if they aren’t thinking about it critically. So, whether you like it or not, your brain is activated whenever you see one!

Did you know that our brains see art as a reward?

You may be surprised to know that our brains are programed to consider looking at art a reward. This is according to the findings of one study that explored the movements and state of the brain whilst exposed to art. Viewing the works of famous painters like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and other artists more strongly activates the brain’s “reward system” compared to the brain activity that happens when looking at photographs of similar subjects, according to the researchers at Emory University School of Medicine.

Four male volunteers and four females were asked to view paintings made by famous and unknown artists and photographs with the same subject as of the paintings. Imaging technology revealed that when an individual viewed a painting, the ventral striatum (part of the reward system) was more strongly activated, compared to just looking at the photograph version.

The results reveal that not only did art viewing stimulate the ventral striatum, but it also activated the hypothalamus which is the part of the brain that is associated with appetite regulation and the orbitofrontal cortex, which is responsible with calculating risk, impulse control and detection of social rules.

Did you know that art encourages creative thinking?

Contrary to popular belief, creative thinking does not mean using the right side of your brain.

It involves getting both hemispheres of your brain communicating with each other. This is according to Dr. Lawrence Katz, an internationally recognized pioneer in neuron regeneration research. Art enhances problem-solving skills.

A study proved that field trips to art galleries and museums improve the critical thinking skills of students and children. This means that the greater exposure they have to works of art, the higher the rates of brain development is possible.  Art also improves the attention to details ability of the brain.

Did you know that art can give as much joy as being in love?

Scientifically speaking, being in love is characterized by increased blood flow and faster heart beat. The brain releases hormones that makes you feel happy. Well, art can give that similar effects on you.

Some artworks, as perceived most beautiful by participants, increased blood flow in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10 per cent – the equivalent to gazing at a loved one. These are paintings by John Constable, Ingres, the French neoclassical painter, and Guido Reni, the 17th century Italian artist, produced the most powerful ‘pleasure’ response in those taking part in the experiment.

“The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked. The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain,” says Professor Semir Zeki, chair of neuroaesthetics at University College London and the one who conducted the experiment.

Did you know that art can relieve stress?

Art can decrease stress levels. This is proven by a study conducted by researchers from the University of Westminster. After a lunchtime visit to an art gallery, participants self-reported their stress levels before entering the gallery and then spent 35 minutes exploring the space in any way they wanted. Upon exiting, they expressed being less stressed. Furthermore, they also had lower concentrations of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone.

Our brain gets excited whenever it is exposed to art. In fact, art therapy is considered one of the possible ways of helping patients with mental illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, since drug treatment for dementia symptoms is generally not very successful.

 

Site Specific Art: Choose Art that will Accent the Location (Infographic)

Art is no longer for the aesthetic alone, believe it or not, it is now considered an aid for marketing strategy, a way of healing and even viewed as a way of encouraging higher productivity in offices.

Though art remains a tool to make a place more beautiful ****, numerous studies are being considered, saying that art provides more benefits in certain locations, rather than making a statement or ???

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