Healing is an Art
Healing is an art is being incorporated into healthcare practices more and more often. Studies show that healing arts can complement care, ease pain and make people feel more in control of their own health.
Several different types of art are used to encourage healing, such as music, visual art and spoken or written word. Each of these allows artistic expression combined with emotional awareness and communication.
Art therapy, which involves creating art as part of a therapeutic session, is a powerful addition to many treatment plans. It’s a tool that can help patients express themselves in ways they may not be able to articulate through words, and it can also help them understand their feelings in new and more meaningful ways. The creation of art can align the emotional processing techniques of talk therapy with a patient’s artistic processes, and it helps them see their own work in a different light.
Studies of art therapy show it can promote emotional healing, increase self-esteem, and reduce stress. It can also provide an opportunity for people with PTSD to recover blocked memories or gain crucial realizations that help them move forward. If you are interested in adding this type of therapeutic technique to your treatment plan, find an accredited art therapist by searching the Art Therapy Credentials Board online. There are many qualified and experienced therapists available to meet your needs.
Like art therapy, music is a powerful tool to help clients understand and express their emotions. Music as a healing art is not new—ancient Greeks used music to treat mental illness, and researchers have found that listening to specific types of music can relieve pain, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and increase brain activity.
There are many forms of music therapy, including receptive techniques that involve music listening and discussion, improvisation, songwriting, or using music as a form of movement. During the receptive music therapy session, a therapist may play a recorded or live piece of music and ask if it evokes certain feelings or memories.
The active music therapy methods allow clients to create their own musical compositions, which can include lyrics and instruments. This method can foster a sense of teamwork and boost confidence. In addition, music games and lessons can promote communication skills and self-expression in a group setting. This is a great method for people who have difficulty communicating verbally or who are experiencing aphasia.
Hypnotherapy may be used to help people deal with pain, improve sleep and decrease anxiety. It may also be used to treat certain medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. It may also reduce the need for medication to control side effects such as vomiting and nausea that can be associated with chemotherapy.
Hypnosis is a state of consciousness during which a person’s attention is focused on internal experiences such as feelings, cognition and imagery. Milton Erickson, one of the fathers of hypnotherapy, famously used a handshake to induce hypnosis by interrupting the common pattern that our subconscious mind establishes with strangers. This shocks the brain into being open to suggestions.
A health care provider who is certified to practice hypnotherapy will typically start by reviewing your medical history and discussing your goals for treatment. Then the provider will walk you through a hypnosis routine, which may include breathing deeply and visualizing relaxing images. You will remain conscious and in control, however, and the therapist will not make you do anything against your will.
Reiki focuses on tapping into universal life force energy to heal the mind, body and spirit. The healing technique has been practiced for more than a century and is used today in many holistic health clinics, including hospitals.
Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment, and it’s important to work with your doctor when choosing complementary therapies. Some studies have shown that reiki can help with pain relief, anxiety and depression, blood pressure control, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and quality of life during cancer treatments.
While medical research hasn’t always been accommodating of spiritual approaches to healing, the evidence is growing that Reiki and other alternative therapies can enhance the traditional features of modern medicine. Reiki may support the autonomic nervous system’s shift toward a parasympathetic-dominant state, which is a more balanced state of rest and repair. This is an important part of what Miles describes as “the innate wisdom and self-healing capacity of the human body.”1