“We have a growing body of evidence that shows engaging with the arts can enhance brain function, wellness, health and reduce suffering,” says Dr. Francois Bethoux, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Arts & Medicine Institute.
While focusing on art therapy and performing arts, the institute also oversees more than 6,400 works of art throughout the hospital system, which are meant to comfort, inspire, stimulate, distract, encourage contemplation and provide hope.
“By having this emotional engagement with the visual arts, it’s going to be a cascade of positive effects,” says Bethoux.
Beyond the visual arts, Bethoux is researching how music can impact the mobility of those living with multiple sclerosis.
“I already have emerging evidence that shows that the rhythmic part of the music activates the brain in a way that promotes easier walking,” he says. “It’s making walking more automatic again.”
Every Cleveland Clinic patient can schedule sessions with an art and music therapist for free. They’re also encouraged to participate in rotating gallery exhibits and musical performances in public spaces. The idea is to treat the mind, body and spirit simultaneously.
“It’s very rare that with the arts, you have just one effect,” says Bethoux. “You probably have a web of effects that hopefully have a synergy that result in better health.”
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8:00 AM EST
July 30, 2019