In Search of the Science Behind the Healing Powers of Art

When Julia Strecher was 9-years-old she received her second heart transplant after her body rejected the first one putting her in cardiac arrest six times in two hours.  Memories from the traumatic event left her with constant nightmares and anxiety.  To relieve these feelings, she began writing down her thoughts and turned these feelings into poems and stories.  Soon after, the nightmares and stress went away.  The Foundation for Art & Healing is studying the arts and wellness phenomenon to determine whether or not there is a science to arts and healing.  The Foundation along with a group of researchers and artists and health-care providers are beginning a research agenda to determine whether the arts in conjunction with exercise, diet, and medicine, can benefit in treating cardiovascular disease.  “We expect doctors to ask us if we smoke,” says Jeremy Nobel, a lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health and founder of the organization.  “Should we expect them to ask us, ‘Do you have a creative outlet?’”

The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2009
Written By: Ron Winslow