You have just been to the latest art exhibition and seen some paintings. How did you feel? Well, you might have sensed relaxation, or maybe you must have enjoyed seeing the sight presented by strokes of paint. Whatever, be the reason, watching a creative mind’s creative construction finds favor with everybody.
However, many of us are not aware that an artwork affects both the artist and the observer. Art produces a positive effect on the person. Art therapy is based on this presumption. Art especially works wonders on people suffering from mental diseases. According to experts, since art uses symbolism and images to convey information, it helps people in giving way to pent-up emotions and feelings. This ultimately cures ailments such as depression etc. Experts also opine that when people themselves get involved in the creation of artwork, many of them tend to release their buried emotions via the paintings. This results in the unburdening of a long carried weight, which leads patients to a better frame of mind.
A report that appeared in the New York Times states how art has been helping patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. According to the report, art engages parts of the brain that remain intact long after the patient starts suffering from dementia. The report also cites that these parts are concerned with procedural memory which governs routine activities like walking, eating, etc.
Artwork can also help one to deal with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The American Art Therapy Association states PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or series of events, such as combat, in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened, causing feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
Art helps PTSD victims because it makes use of images and not languages. Many experts believe it is safer to access traumatic memories using images rather than languages. Once, this is done, the patient is encouraged to recreate the image of the traumatic events and this ultimately leads to healing and recovery.
Art also affects the health of the artists, however, negatively. Strictly speaking, the blame should be put on the materials used by them. Take for instance paints. Many times they contain hazardous chemicals. Hence, while working with various paints, one should take care to prevent personal exposure. Similarly, increasing the use of water-based paints is a good way of limiting exposure to solvent vapors.
Thus, art can have a positive effect on the health of its observer. However, an artist has to be careful while doing any artwork because negligence can adversely affect his health.
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