Monday, August 31, 2009

How Does Art Heal?

It doesn’t take much probing to discover that students see benefits that exceed merely taking art classes. When I began to feature art lessons at Colleen Sgroi Gallery & Art Classes, the reception was remarkable. Adults as well children soon began to reap the benefits of being able to spend a few hours each week in a positive and encouraging atmosphere and produce artwork of which they were proud. One adult student remarked, “I didn’t even know I had talent. Colleen brings out the best in you.”

Another said, “These art classes are better than therapy.” A father recently said, “My son has a new sense of confidence and self esteem since he has taken art classes here.
The theraputic effects of art are well known. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process of art is both healing and life-enhancing.

How does art heal? Scientific studies tell us that art heals by changing a person's physiology and attitude. The body's physiology changes from one of stress to one of deep relaxation, from one of fear to one of creativity and inspiration. Art puts a person in a different brain wave pattern; art affects a person's autonomic nervous system, their hormonal balance and their brain neurotransmitters.

Art affects every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. Art also immediately change a person's perceptions of their world. They change attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. It creates hope and positivism and helps people cope with difficulties. It transforms a person's outlook and way of being in the world.

In fact it is now known by neurophysiologists that art, prayer, and healing all come from the same source in the body, they all are associated with similar brain wave patterns, mind body changes and they all are deeply connected in feeling and meaning. Art, prayer, and healing all take us into our inner world, the world of imagery and emotion, of visions and feelings. This journey inward into what used to be called the spirit or soul and is now called the mind, is deeply healing. For healing comes to us from within, our own healing resources are freed to allow our immune system to operate optimally and that is always how we heal. This is the contemporary version of freeing our healing energies and is now recognized to be crucial to healing. We go inward on The Creative Spiral together through art.

Colleen Sgroi, Teaching Artist

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