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Surprising Science

The Healing Power of Art

Art projects have become an important way to supplement the medical treatment many children receive in hospitals across the country. They could even reduce health care costs. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Art and crafts projects are playing a larger role in children’s medical treatment at hospitals across the country, demonstrating tangible results. At Children’s Hospital Boston, for example, Jason Springer, an educator from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, makes regular trips to help children make cultural artifacts like Chinese lanterns. Both medical professionals and family members report that creative projects, which allow children’s minds to escape the confines of the hospital, help children to concentrate on something other than their illness. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Art as therapy is a growing practice. In its most recent report, the Society for the Arts in Healthcare reported that up to 45 percent of the nation’s health care institutions use art in their treatment programs. “Researchers have found that such programs decrease patient stress and improve quality of life; and there is a nascent body of evidence suggesting that, because of such improvements, arts programs can actually save on health-care costs.” Taking part in such cultural experiences provide children with a healthy and positive distraction. 

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