Both health and arts have been important centres of human interest throughout history, including possible connections between art and healing processes. In a review by Stuckey and Nobel (2010), exploring the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, four major areas of art associated with positive health outcomes emerged, namely music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing.
Enhancements in health and wellness, e.g. reduced anxiety and stress and increased well-being, could be seen after interventions based on mediums from the named areas (music, visual arts, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing). Some of the interventions also showed positive effects related to identity issues in connection with a health condition, such as cancer.
The review included both qualitative and quantitative studies, mainly conducted with adults in North America and European countries. Although the studies have a number of limitations, the studies illuminate the health enhancing potential of diverse creative artistic expressions. More studies, including randomized controlled trials, are needed to further explore these methods’ potential to enhance health and well-being.
Reference: Stuckey HL, Nobel J. The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. American Journal of Public Health 2010, 100(2)