While we've come to think of the arts as a form of entertainment, and even as personal expression, many of us have long forgotten that the arts also offer us opportunities to heal. In the distant past, the purpose of Greek drama was to produce an emotional catharsis. Tibetan monks still use chanting, bells and "singing bowls" as part of their prayer and healing, and many native cultures include drumming, song and dance as part of their ritual.
The joy you feel when creating art can be healing in itself. It's easy to get "lost" in your creativity, relieving stress and thereby eliminating a major cause of dis-ease. But the effects are even more profound. According to the Art As a Healing Force web site (www.artashealing.org), scientific studies have shown that art literally changes not only a person's attitude, but their physiology. Art and music affect a person's brain wave pattern, along with the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, immune system and blood flow to all the organs. They change one's perceptions of the world, including their emotional state and perception of pain.
above from Good Life Coaching
Over thirty years of scientific investigation have demonstrated that creative expression can alter not just moods, attitudes and emotions, but influences neuro-endocrine pathways that control physiologic outcomes as varied as blood pressure, sleep and the immune response. We are learning how creative expression can:
above from Art & Healing
above and below from The Veterans Art Center
It's estimated that 20 in every 100 combat vets will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Many soldiers who have PTSD say it is a daily struggle trying to manage feelings like anger, rage and frustration.
Kurtis Bean is an Iraq veteran who says ever since he returned home from combat, he has worked hard to manage his PTSD.
"Every day I struggle with PTSD. I would self medicate with alcohol or not doing the right thing," Bean said.
Over the last few years, Bean says he has discovered a way to calm his mind and relax through, what he calls, an unconventional method.
"I've learned how to manage things through art. I can just pull out a canvas and paint. It frees you. It's totally opposite of the military in a lot of ways because you can do whatever you want. No restrictions, no rules," Bean said.
Instead of keeping his way of healing a secret, he decided to share it with other veterans by hosting art classes at "The Hope Tank," a local store in Denver.
Bean says his mission is to reach as many vets as possible to give them the opportunity to see if art helps them cope with their PTSD as well.
"It's my way of giving back. It has helped me so I'm just trying to help them," Bean said.
Matthew Cox has been attending Bean's classes for a few months. He says art wasn't something he thought would help him, but after attending a few classes he has noticed a change.
"It really calms me down, it really let's my mind flow with something positive instead of negative all the time. It gives me peace and quiet and when I work with these guys it just gives me laughter and fun," Cox said.
The classes offer vets hope, peace of mind and an escape from the unspeakable images of war which constantly plague their minds. Bean has shown these men and women, through free classes, that it is possible to escape in a productive way.
"There's no cure for PTSD, but this is one tool in your tool box. It's a way to get peace and escape. Whenever you feel angry or those feelings come up, you can pull out a canvas and relax," Bean said.
The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design donates supplies for all of Bean's classes. He says each class is free of charge and is held at the Hope Tank every second Tuesday of the month. He also teaches at the Denver VA hospital every Thursday
above from channel 9 news in Denver
While living in Florida Curt Bean wanted a painting to hang on the wall in his room and decided to pick up a canvas, paints and brushes and created his first painting. He hasn’t stopped painting since. It wasn’t until he moved to Denver, Colo. in 2012 and completed a seven-week inpatient PTSD program, however, that he realized how therapeutic art was to him.
above from The Lincoln County Journal