Cancer sufferers offer experience anxiety and pain, which studies are showing may be alleviated by creative arts.
For years many people have been championing the benefits of creative arts on education and mental health, but a new study may be confirming the benefits of art therapy in cancer patients.
A new study analyzed research that had been conducted over the last 21 years (1989 to 2011) to isolate the potential benefits of arts therapy that involved music, art, and dance. The benefits were small, but were comparable to other techniques employed to help treat anxiety and pain including acupuncture or yoga.
The findings regarding the arts therapies to help manage certain conditions included:
- Patients with cancer that received some form of creative art therapy reported a better quality of life, including a reduction in pain, anxiety, and depression.
- 42% patients from one study that was analyzed saw pain levels cut in half simply by listening to 30 minutes of music that was familiar to them.
- Benefits were often seen to reduce once the therapy had ended.
What does this mean for treatment of specific types of cancers such as breast cancer, leukemia, or lymphoma? Further research is intended to be performed by National Institutes of Health to see how long these benefits might extend to those suffering from cancer. According to lead author of the study Timothy Puetz of NIH in Bethesda Maryland, rigorous studies into the length of benefit for patients have been lacking.
This research is also serving to unite those certified as creative arts therapists with clinicians and doctors to discuss how to provide this type of treatment to patients as either an outpatient or inpatient service.
Hopefully these new findings will help patients discover a way to help reduce their anxiety and pain while undergoing treatment.