In such an important journey, the inner strength that can be amplified is of great value. Addressing the general need for support as well as specific issues relieves stress and takes some of the burden off the immune system of the body.
Those who care for the people diagnosed with cancer, especially close family members and friends, are also often in need of strong support as they themselves manage their responses to the crisis and the ongoing work of caring for their loved one.
Art therapy is being used in hospitals with measurable results. “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 8 of 9 symptoms measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment scale (ESAS) after spending an hour working on art projects of their choice.”*
*Northwestern Memorial Hospital (2006, January 2). Art Therapy Can Reduce Pain And Anxiety In Cancer Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2006/01/ 060102104539.htm
Excerpt from “Art as healing” by Arushi Sinha:
Art as Part of Healing
New research published by Alastair Cunningham‚ PhD‚ clinical psychologist‚ Ontario Cancer Institute‚ Toronto‚ followed patients through a complementary program that included an art therapy component. Dr. Cunningham’s research demonstrates that those patients determined to have a high level of involvement may have prolonged survival. In a study of 22 patients‚ all having roughly a life expectancy of one year‚ two patients experienced complete remission‚ and several others lived beyond three years.
Although Dr. Cunningham is cautious about drawing conclusions from these findings and wants to conduct further research‚ he is convinced that “changing behaviors changes thoughts and ultimately changes reality.” As a cancer survivor himself‚ Dr. Cunningham’s research has personal meaning.
Riggs says that working with the inner images of art brings those “Aha! moments.”
Article at: http://www.curetoday.com/backissues/v1n3/features/art/index.html