Art healing, also know as the healing arts, is a term that is applied to the use of art in emotional and physical healing. Art healing is often confused with Art Therapy, and although art healing and art therapy are very similar, art therapy tends to be a doctor/patent healing process, whereas art healing is an individual/nontherapist healing process. But both both use art to help the healing process.

A relatively new concept in western society, only in the last 60 years have doctors, therapists, and others in the medical profession begun to acknowledge the theraputic effects of art on the physical, emotional, and mental well being of people.

Art therapist and author Cathy Malchiodi states in her book The Art Therapy Sourcebook, that art therapy is "...based on the idea that the creative process of artmaking is healing and life enhancing, and that it is a potent form of communication. It utilizes the creative process... to promote growth, self-expression, emotional reparation, conflict resolution and transformation."

According to Malchiodi, art healing is beneficial in several ways:

• Visually deals with tramatic emotions can feel safer then dealing with them in words.

• It lets us express things we cannot express in words.

• Its helpful in releasing emotions.

• It is a powerful therapeutic process that has meaning and comes directly from our own feelings and imagination.

• It allows us to know ourselves better.

• It is available to everyone.

• It enhances our lives and reduces stress.

While artists in general tend to focus on the asthetics of artwork, art therapy and art healing's focus is on feelings and thoughts.

Art healing works in any medium; drawing, water colors, paints, collage, and others. In Art Therapy, a therapist usually instructs the patient in making a piece of artwork that expresses their feelings, and then encourages them to discuss what the artwork means. Art therapy methods have been shown to help cancer patients, people with arthritis and alzheimers, the mentally ill, and patients suffering from PTSDs.

The act of creating art enhances self-esteem, gives a sense of control, and relieves stress and tension by taking the mind off of problems. Mostly importantly, it is an outlet for emotions.

Art healing is, in essense, self-help art therapy. Anyone can do art healing, and most people do art healing in their own homes, using whatever methods they prefer and creating any type of artwork. Unlike Art Therapy, where the goal is to create art and than analyse or talk about it with a therapist, art healing is a personal journey and needs no therapist and no analysis. In creating artwork, the healing process has already begun.

Author's Bio: 

Catherine Whipple is an artist who has used art as a healing tool throughout her life. She teaches art healing and art journaling to Native American youth and women. She is a photographer, digital collage artist, songwriter, and graphic designer. She is the creator of the Self-Help Healing Arts Journal website that focuses on the healing arts.