February 21, 2024

The Healing Power of Art

Healing Art Paintings

Healing art paintings are about more than just colors and brush strokes. They can help soothe and heal patients physically, mentally and emotionally.

Like exercise or meditation, creating art engages both the mind and body to promote healing. This is why artists who specialize in this type of healing art are sought after.

1. Pain Relief

Paintings, music and dance are just a few of the many different forms that art can take. But one thing that all healing arts have in common is they help with pain relief.

This can be passive engagement, like simply viewing a painting or listening to soothing music. It can also be more active, such as journaling or coloring mandalas. The important thing is that it is something you enjoy doing. It doesn’t even have to be good art.

When patients are involved in the arts, they have shorter hospital stays and less stress hormones, sleep better and require fewer pain medicines. Artistic dedication has been found to boost activity in the part of the brain that controls pain, known as the periaqueductal gray.

2. Calming

Having a sense of composure and tranquility during stressful situations. Calmness can be achieved through practicing mindfulness or engaging in calming activities such as drawing or painting.

A painting can be a visual representation of a place that makes you feel calm or peaceful, such as the ocean, a forest, or a waterfall. Additionally, artworks can be used to create a calming environment at home by hanging them in the bedroom or living room.

In this episode, hear from young curators at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, a Black-led gallery in Brixton, about how they use healing art paintings to heal themselves and their communities. They talk about Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Ana Mendieta’s Nile Born, and Sam Gilliam’s 10/27/69. A Stance Studios production produced by Nicole Logan and Shanelle Callaghan.

3. Emotional Release

The process of creating art is cathartic, allowing individuals to express intense emotions that may be difficult or impossible to verbalize. Channeling these feelings into a painting, drawing or photograph can provide a healthy outlet that reduces stress and promotes healing.

In addition, the act of creating art has been shown to foster a sense of self-discovery. In one study, participants who participated in an art therapy program experienced greater levels of self-awareness than those who did not participate.

Adding unique works of art to our patient rooms will complement the many other efforts we have undertaken to make Chester County Hospital a healing environment. We thank Healing Art Works for their generosity and look forward to welcoming patients to our new Tower.

4. Self-Discovery

Painting offers a unique opportunity to explore oneself. Each choice of color and brushstroke is a deliberate act that can hold profound therapeutic potential. The process of exploring oneself through art helps people to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their emotions.

For example, students can be asked to identify their non-negotiable values and then create a piece of art based on those values. This exercise can help students to better understand themselves, and can also be a powerful tool for communication with significant others.

Artist and Healing Art Works board member Lin Webber, known for her Chester County landscapes, said she was pleased to add her artwork to the Hospital’s rooms. She hopes the pieces will bring a sense of beauty to patients and visitors during difficult times.

5. Sense of Control

Sense of control (also known as locus of control, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, personal autonomy and mastery) is a person’s subjective experience of having sufficient choice, freedom and authority to motivate action. This sense of control is a key aspect of psychological well-being and can be influenced by various factors such as life events, environment and the relationships you have with others.

While psychotherapy allows humans to logically work through emotional pain and medications numb the pain temporarily, art is an authentic way for human beings to independently sort through their inner issues without the consumption of unnatural chemicals. Painting is one form of creative expression that can offer a sense of control.

Adding healing artwork paintings to patient rooms complements Chester County Hospital’s commitment to “Make Lives Better Every Day.” The hospital has been collecting fine art through Healing Art Works since March 2020.

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