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A dose of art therapy can ease pain and anxiety in cancer patients

Art therapy may help cancer patients overcome their pain and anxiety, and feel better, finds this new study.

fitness Updated: Apr 21, 2018 11:57 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
Art therapy can be used alongside conventional treatments for patients with cancer-related mood symptoms and pain.
Art therapy can be used alongside conventional treatments for patients with cancer-related mood symptoms and pain.(Shutterstock)

Art can heal, and in more ways than one. A new study done by Mayo Clinic-Rochester shows that art therapy at bedside on patients with haematological cancers improved their mood, and reduced pain and anxiety.

The link between art and health has been explored in the past as well. An earlier study done by James Cook University in Australia showed a link between art and mental health. It suggested that mental health disorders like neurosis, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorders could all be predicted based on the kind of art you like, be it pop art or abstract art. And a Japanese paper-cutting art even inspired a new, effective design for bandages.

For the recent study, 21 female and 10 male patients were admitted to the inpatient bone marrow transplant and haematologic services at Mayo Clinic-Rochester. They were invited to participate in a brief bedside visual art intervention (BVAI) where the goal of the session was to teach art techniques for 30 minutes.

A total of 19 female and 2 male patients participated. Significant improvements in positive mood and pain scores, and there was a decrease in negative mood and anxiety. Patients perceived BVAI as overall positive (95%) and wished to participate in future art-based interventions (85%).

The findings indicate that art therapy can be used alongside conventional treatments for patients with cancer-related mood symptoms and pain. The study has been published in the journal European Journal of Cancer Care.

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