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Monday, January 02, 2006

Art Therapy for Cancer Patients

Recent study conducted by Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago found that art therapy can reduce pain and anxiety. Moreover, it can also help relieve tiredness.
The study, published this week in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, reveals cancer patients may see multiple benefits from on-hour art therapy sessions.

Researchers enrolled 50 patients being treated for cancer in the study. Patients were asked to fill out surveys and answer questions on symptoms of pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, lack of appetite, well being, and shortness of breath.

Each patient was allowed to decide what kind of art they would do during the sessions. If a patient could not use their hands or didn't want to use the art materials, researchers offered the option of directing someone else to do the art or arranging photographic images into a book.

Investigators found eight of the nine symptoms surveyed improved as a result of the art therapy sessions. Nausea was the only symptom that was not affected.

According to researchers, the results indicate that a complementary therapy, like art therapy, can improve quality of life, reduce symptoms, and help reduce stress for patients dealing with a difficult treatment. They say art therapy could be a viable alternative for patients not comfortable with conventional psychotherapy or find verbal expression difficult.


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