Healing art

A painting in a hospital Paintings in hospitals
This gallery contains images of paintings hanging in Kitasato hospitals and facilities - an initiative of Professor Ōmura. The artwork helps create an environment that is conducive to healing and relaxed working conditions.
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Painting by Nui Sana Sample collection of paintings
This gallery contains a small sample of the paintings in the Kitasato collection and the private catalogue of Satoshi Ōmura, who is a major patron of the arts in Japan and a staunch supporter of Japanese artists.
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The Healing Arts involve the exploitation of creative practices or products that promote healing, wellness, coping and personal change. Traditional healing arts include visual art, music, dance, poetry, writing and drama. All can combine artistic vision and expression with improved psychological awareness and better communication and understanding, all of which can play a crucial role in health improvement.

The process of art creation, as well as the finished article, can nurture and advance understanding of physical, mental or emotional needs. Healing can also occur and accelerate in those who simply experience art through observation and contemplation. Healing arts have a comprehensive positive impact on health, helping to cope with illness, supporting caregivers, relatives of those affected, and amplifying and strengthening healthcare environments.

Incorporating the arts into health care is part of a humanistic approach - one that understands the contribution of beliefs, emotions, stress relief, social interactions, environmental factors, creativity and spiritual factors towards creating and maintaining good health and well-being. It takes the broadest view of healing, i.e. health is not just the curing or absence of disease, but the embracement of all positive elements and opportunities to also boost self-knowledge, growth, inner strength and resilience.

The healing arts are increasingly being incorporated into healthcare as their proven positive impact on patient satisfaction with healthcare, and on health outcomes for a wide variety of health conditions, is being fully realised. Studies show that healing art can help patients with their physical, mental and emotional recovery on many levels, particularly by reducing anxiety and decreasing pain. The healing arts can be a discrete but effective healing tool in enhancing a hospital or patient care environment, creating conditions that are conducive to expediting the healing process. Patients often report higher satisfaction with their overall medical care and an elevated sense of empowerment. Studies also indicate that healing arts and integrative therapies can boost treatment effectiveness, particularly for patients with complex, chronic health conditions and those seeking mechanisms for disease prevention or personal overall health promotion.

"Creativity is great medicine for all, both the creator and the one who experiences it. It prevents disease and promotes wellness. It is not an indulgence, it is fundamental to medical practice. There is no universe more boundless than that of the imagination. It gives us our wonder at the world around us, our curiosity and improvisational skills, our sense of play, and our sharing of ideas. The artist is peer to the doctor. Art uplifts, educates, brings beauty, and facilitates social change. Bringing imagination to our every endeavor makes us happier and healthier."

Patch Adams, M.D.