Arts Therapy Improves Recovery and Cuts Medical Expenditures

Written by Kathleen O’Brien

With hallway after hallway of white walls and the monotonous beepingof medical machines, the inside of a hospital doesn’t really seem like the best kind of environment to recuperate and recover.

Strolling through Ohio’sCleveland Clinic, however,is a different story. Instead of plainwalls, there are paintings and replacing the noiseof bedside machines are the sounds of musical instruments.

Unusual, right? Well, all of this is due to the Cleveland Clinic embracing a new form of medicine: arts therapy. Working in conjunction with theGlobal Arts and Medicine Institute, run byIva Fattorini, this top-notchmedical facilityis redefining traditional hospital protocol.

According to Fattorini, incorporating the arts into the hospitals is beneficial to everyone, as it can facilitate the healing process and potentially lower hospital costs, according to Fast Company.

Research has shown that when patients participate in arts therapy,hospital stays are shortened and patients requireless medication for pain, as well as overall have a morepositive experience. For example, after a patient hassuffered a stroke, music is often used to reintroduce speech and numb extreme pain.

The same positiveness is true for employees who are more satisfied going to and leaving work.

Lining the 24 million square feet of clinic wall space are5,200 original art pieces and1,500 posters and prints. The hospital also offers daily music performances and delivers the arts bedside through400 hours of music therapy and200 hours of art therapy each week.

All of this isn’t just for the patients, though. For Fattorini, it’s a resource for the family and friends of patients as well. These people sit for hours or wander the halls, nervously awaiting the results and fate of loved one and peaceful music or a serene piece of artwork can be a nice break from reality.

Fattorini isn’t content for this to just exist in Cleveland. She recently formed the social enterprise,Artocene, to spread arts therapy to hospitals across the country and throughout the world.

“The need to direct human emotions at a time of human uncertainty is very ubiquitous and people really appreciate it when it comes from the caregivers,”Fattorini tells Fast Company. “It’s about teamwork between artists, surgeons, architects, consultants, and investors together.”

And for people going through a tough time, sometimes a little touch of humanity is all that’s needed.


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This post originally appeared on NationSwell.

Photo Credit: Mike Sharp


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Rosemary Diehl
Rosemary Diehl4 years ago

The arts are vital to a well rounded life

Arlene C.
Arlene C4 years ago

L'art est parmi ce qui nous aide le mieux à vivre

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago

Not surprising.... It is not all about meds when it comes to being sick. I believe it is also about your attitude towards your illness. Thanks for sharing, very interesting!

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B4 years ago

Noted. Thank you

Sharon Tyson
sharon Tyson4 years ago

Introduces humanity into, a very often, inhumane venue. Cleveland Clinic is a leader in creative therapies. Other institutions would be well advised to follow their example. Patients, staff and families all would benefit. If it is proved to be a cost saver administration just might take a serious look.

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Dale O.

Certainly, more of these progressive ideas go a long way towards healing.
Very interesting.

Roxana Saez
Roxana S4 years ago

TYFS....I've been using brainwave technology music as of late. Thought it was hippy dippy but when used on a regular basis and it's the right kind of music...very promising results. One of my instructors used to talk about "The Art of Medicine"....I'm glad they are bringing the arts back into healing.