The Therapeutic Connection between Art and Stroke Victims

Strokes are very common, in fact, they are the leading cause of disability in the US and the fifth leading cause of death. A stroke occurs when oxygen and nutrients are unable to reach the brain because of a blood clot or ruptured artery. When brain cells are starved of oxygen, they die, and the function of the cells are impacted. How devastating the stroke is depends on several factors including the location of the obstruction or rupture and how much tissue is damaged. When it comes to recovering from a stroke, much of the therapy is focused on the physical and recovering functions. However, many stroke patients also experience psychosocial problems like depression or anxiety.

Medicine turns to Art

Drawing attention to stroke awareness and art therapy is very important in our community. Because of a stroke’s significant impact on the physical body, victims may struggle to adjust emotionally. Stress, frustration, and helplessness are all feelings that can negatively affect a stroke victim’s self-esteem and quality of life.  

Art therapy is based on the belief that self-expression and the human creative process have the ability to enhance healing. The therapy targets both hemispheres of the brain: the right hemisphere, which is responsible for spatial and visual information, such as recalling images and identifying differences between colors, and the left hemisphere, which is responsible for analyzing information, performing organizational tasks, and verbal communication.

When the brain functions correctly, the two hemispheres integrate and work together. Art therapy encourages proper brain integration through various activities that may include coloring, sewing or knitting, creating murals, crafting “heart boxes” out of a shoebox, designing cards or postcards, making puppets, painting, sketching, drawing, sculpture, collage, and doodling.

Art therapy can be used to treat anxiety, depression, and other psychosocial issues that arise from the trauma and disability caused by a stroke. THE process of creating art, such as painting and drawing, can be soothing and calming while creating pottery can be a stress reliever. While engaging in these immersive activities, problems and other  disturbing issues recede.

Art also provides an outlet for expressing things that can’t be verbalized. It may open a window into emotions, thoughts, and problems, thereby helping an individual regain control of their lives while enhancing their self-esteem. Art also stimulates the brain which allows it to repair or rewire itself to restore functions damaged by a stroke.

At Noble Horizons, we deeply believe the environment we create for our residents is connected to the healing and living process.  The art we have on our campus, the classes we offer to not only our residents but to the public are all part of Noble Living.

Our Residents and their families find that art stimulates their senses and cultivates a safe environment of self exploration, self-expression and imagination.

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