can art be MEDICINE?
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. As the world of medicine advances, health organizations world-wide are recognizing that for a human being to be in the condition of good health, we must take good care of more than the physical body. Emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being are important considerations, and more medical centers are including a holistic, integrative approach to the care being offered in even the most traditional medical institutions.
Medical Art Therapy is the use of Creative Arts Therapy as an integrative therapy together with medical intervention. Previously known as "alternative therapy," holistic practices such as aromatherapy, yoga therapy, acupuncture, holistic nutrition and creative arts therapies are offered in an integrated approach where these are practiced alongside medical treatment. Quality of Life teams are part of many hospitals, where patient's all-around well-being is discussed and treated from a variety of perspectives. Interestingly, in the case of chronic or neuropathic pain, the most recent studies point to integrative approaches including creative arts therapies, meditation and pharmaceuticals as having the best chance for success. Medical art therapists have experience working with patients and their families during times of acute health crises as well as helping them cope with chronic conditions. Hospitalization can be a time of great stress for the entire family system. Medical Art Therapists work with children and adults, spouses and siblings, in group or individual sessions to help the expression of emotions and concerns during stressful times. They are also skilled in working with patients receiving palliative care, or experiencing hospice, end of life and bereavement issues.