Art therapy is a recognized form of complementary treatment for cancer. Art not only helps patients deal with their experiences; but it is proven to assist in pain management and stress reduction.
ScienceDaily reports in this 2006 article on art therapy titled: Art Therapy Can Reduce Pain And Anxiety In Cancer Patients
A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that art therapy can reduce a broad spectrum of symptoms related to pain and anxiety in cancer patients. In the study done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, cancer patients reported significant reductions in eight of nine symptoms measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) after spending an hour working on art projects of their choice.
Art therapy is considered a safe therapy when lead or monitored by a trained therapist who can guide the patient in self expression and working through painful emotions.
How is art therapy thought to improve wellness and optimize overall health? Proponents of this therapy believe that the uninhibited expression of feelings and emotions through art may help to release the fear, anxiety and anger many cancer patients experience. Art can also be viewed as a distraction to the pain and discomfort of disease, allowing patients relief from stress and increased well-being. By relieving stress, the body’s immune system and, therefore, resistance to disease may be heightened.
For children art therapy can help them express concepts they are unable to verbalize.
Therapists often work with patients in groups or one on one, not just creating art but also discussing art to express feelings and increase awareness. Art therapy can also be considered a non verbal mode of communicating to others and to one’s self.
and visit the Mayo Clinic site for a video: Art Therapy for Stress Management.
Art Therapy and Cancer Care (2005)