Art is Wellness and Wellness is Art

Health is truly defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.  A one-sided approach to treating health is as absence to disease. This approach discounts so many aspects of an individual that are inherent and most considerably the artistry of an individual.  A large majority of the population has a mindset that they are not “artistically inclined”.  This is not the case, as we all have the ability, potential and necessity to hone that part of our brain that is nurtured by the arts.  Our exposure to this belief from early on is what influences our world view.

I grew up with an artistic and creative mother who impressed upon me, as well as my children the gift of creativity we all behold.  My mother, now  80, devotes time to volunteer in schools extolling this value to children thereby expressing art as plentiful and positive.   I believe my mother’s personal positivity and experience, as well as my observation when others experience art, is contagious and healing.  My mother’s influence has allowed me to implement art into spas and wellness centers that I have managed.  Artistic expression classes have opened up a new way of approaching wellness for spa participants.  The effect has been powerful.

In art there are 4 distinct therapies that trigger positive emotions, enhance affirmative moods and develop a capacity for self-reflection.  These 4 approaches to artistic expression are music engagement, visual arts, movement-based expression and expressive writing. In our current world of constant changing technology, one of the most prevalent experiences on the backburner in our daily, weekly or monthly lives is art.  The easiest way to reduce stress, and experience a refuge is through the healing arts.  This is a practice that has been at the center of human interest from the beginning of recorded history and has been used clinically for more than a century.  We understand art inherently from a subliminal place, and there is increasing research dedicated to preventative medicine as to music and art therapy.   The following are some thought-provoking ways in which art can be woven into daily life.

Music Engagement – A way to understand the power of sound and music is exposure to crystal bowls tuned to reverberate sounds relating to a chakra of the body.  We have seven chakras in our body that emanate energy.  By focusing on a specific field of energy such as the heart, a profound balance can be achieved while the heart responds to the tune of the crystal bowl..  Music is a very positive and well-researched medium of art and healing that can calm as well as excite us.

Visual Arts Therapy –   By taking the time to draw or paint, mold clay or work with abstract concepts the right side of the brain is stimulated.  This is the side of the brain that is visual and intuitive.  We most often use our left side of the brain which is analytical and sequential.   Balancing the effect of right brain to left, results in non-verbal communication through art experiences. Through this exposure we can use interpretation and can learn about ourselves and others more fully.

Movement Based Expression –   Tai Chi is a meditative movement of expression derived from martial arts that gaining in popularity. It is a perfect example of movement-based arts, as each movement has symbolism and subtle nuances of energy reducing stress.   Dance, yoga, theatre or other movement- based therapies also show great benefit.

Expressive Writing –   The power of writing, journaling, poetry and verbal communication as expression of oneself,  is a wonderful social and emotional therapy.  Joining a writing group, starting the process to write a memoir, reading or writing poetry, or other writing based activities can have a positive effect on mood.

We all have the opportunity to enhance optimal living in healthy ways by exposing ourselves to the sights and sounds of our world and expressing that which comes from within.

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