The impact of the arts in the process of healing was recognized early on by Hippocrates, who understood the importance of uplifting his patients’ spirits. Over the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic growth in the use of the arts in medicine. In fact, renowned institutions such as Duke University Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School are doing research on the subject of art as a healing tool. These recent scientific studies show us that art heals by changing both a person’s physiology and their emotional attitude. 
The question that begets asking is how? It could be as simple as one word … Epigenetics. One of the leading experts in this burgeoning field is Dr. Bruce Lipton. His research tells us that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, in the environment surrounding it, including energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts, emotions and beliefs.
According to the Art As A Healing Force organization, when a person experiences art, “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 and music put a person in a different brain wave pattern; art and music affect a person’s autonomic nervous system, their hormonal balance, and their brain neurotransmitters.”
Further, the research tells us this: “Neurophysiologists have shown 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.”
The whole idea behind the infusion of art/music into one’s world is that it brings the observer into the present moment. There is nothing else that matters except the joy of this experience. It takes our cares away … it puts our fears on hold … and for that moment in time, nothing else matters. Those feelings takes us out of the limiting beliefs of the subconscious, into our conscious mind of pure potentiality, where anything is possible. This is the emotional state form which healing can begin.
Hospitals all over the world are incorporating music and art into patient care. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are now working with artists and musicians to heal people of all ages with many conditions including cancer and AIDS. 
“Now everybody understands that cancer is as much, if not more, epigenetic than genetic,” states Jean-Pierre Issa, a researcher from Temple University. 
“Medicine can do extraordinary things today. With the arts, it can do more,” stated Jill Sonke, director of University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine, when she spoke at a recent TEDxUF event. Put simply, “Art changes us.” 
As art and healing merge, the field of art will be changed and the field of medicine will be changed forevermore.
Copyright © 2015 Lori Daniel Falk. All Rights Reserved.
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