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Has COVID-19 reminded us that art is crucial to wellbeing?
By Megan Whitby 20 Jul 2020
Making art reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, regardless of skill level or past experience
During lockdown, people all around the world turned to the arts to take sanctuary from the unprecedented situation before them – US-based International Arts and Mind (IAM) Lab collated a guide which offers weekly easy-to-do art activities, to help people use art as a coping mechanism.

Before the pandemic, spas were starting to experiment with wellbeing-boosting arts-based activities – anything from colouring and painting to creative writing. This is expected to continue as they explore therapies which aren't reliant on touch and IAM Lab's COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide could be a great source of inspiration for new programmes.

“People are naturally gravitating toward the arts during lockdown,” said Susan Magasamen, IAM Lab executive director, “we saw it when the Italians sang from their balconies and children chalked the sidewalks with messages of hope."

IAM Lab’s COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide has a two-fold purpose, as it was created to demonstrate how the arts support our collective health, wellbeing and learning as well as explaining the science behind this.

The group introduces the guide by stating: “In this guide, we’ll look at issues created or exacerbated by the pandemic, including loneliness, stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and grief and evidence-based arts activities that can help us.”

Each suggested activity features simple explanations about the scientific evidence and research relating to its potential benefits.

“The field guide gives people a bit of a scientific explanation of what they already know intuitively - the arts are essential to our health and wellbeing,” said Magasamen, “It also gives them some ways to continue exploring the arts as a daily restorative practice while we navigate the twists and turns of the pandemic.”

She believes that: “Spas should consider expanding the breadth of their aesthetic experiences by adding arts-based activities to their menu.

“We know making art reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, regardless of skill level or past experience – so carving out space and time and providing tools for guests to engage in restorative arts could be a wonderful addition to the spa experience.”

IAM Lab revealed to Spa Business that its major partners across various sectors have distributed the Field Guide to their teams including the American Psychological Association, The Bezos Family Foundation, The National Head Start Association and NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

IAM Lab is a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative from the Brain Science Institute at the iconic Johns Hopkins University, the group brings together brain scientists and practitioners in architecture, music, and the arts and claims its mission is to amplify human potential.

Magasamen told Spa Business that the guide will continue to be updated for the foreseeable future, with new monthly articles being published to share creative ideas and activities.

“We’re still working on the guide as we’re still very much in the middle of this pandemic, trying to figure out how to live and breathe and make the most of a difficult situation.”


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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
NEWS
Has COVID-19 reminded us that art is crucial to wellbeing?
POSTED 20 Jul 2020 . BY Megan Whitby
Making art reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, regardless of skill level or past experience Credit: Shutterstock: alinabuphoto
The field guide gives people a bit of a scientific explanation of what they already know intuitively - the arts are essential to our health and wellbeing. It also gives them some ways to continue exploring the arts as a daily restorative practice
– Susan Magasamen
During lockdown, people all around the world turned to the arts to take sanctuary from the unprecedented situation before them – US-based International Arts and Mind (IAM) Lab collated a guide which offers weekly easy-to-do art activities, to help people use art as a coping mechanism.

Before the pandemic, spas were starting to experiment with wellbeing-boosting arts-based activities – anything from colouring and painting to creative writing. This is expected to continue as they explore therapies which aren't reliant on touch and IAM Lab's COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide could be a great source of inspiration for new programmes.

“People are naturally gravitating toward the arts during lockdown,” said Susan Magasamen, IAM Lab executive director, “we saw it when the Italians sang from their balconies and children chalked the sidewalks with messages of hope."

IAM Lab’s COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide has a two-fold purpose, as it was created to demonstrate how the arts support our collective health, wellbeing and learning as well as explaining the science behind this.

The group introduces the guide by stating: “In this guide, we’ll look at issues created or exacerbated by the pandemic, including loneliness, stress, burnout, anxiety, depression and grief and evidence-based arts activities that can help us.”

Each suggested activity features simple explanations about the scientific evidence and research relating to its potential benefits.

“The field guide gives people a bit of a scientific explanation of what they already know intuitively - the arts are essential to our health and wellbeing,” said Magasamen, “It also gives them some ways to continue exploring the arts as a daily restorative practice while we navigate the twists and turns of the pandemic.”

She believes that: “Spas should consider expanding the breadth of their aesthetic experiences by adding arts-based activities to their menu.

“We know making art reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, regardless of skill level or past experience – so carving out space and time and providing tools for guests to engage in restorative arts could be a wonderful addition to the spa experience.”

IAM Lab revealed to Spa Business that its major partners across various sectors have distributed the Field Guide to their teams including the American Psychological Association, The Bezos Family Foundation, The National Head Start Association and NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

IAM Lab is a multidisciplinary research-to-practice initiative from the Brain Science Institute at the iconic Johns Hopkins University, the group brings together brain scientists and practitioners in architecture, music, and the arts and claims its mission is to amplify human potential.

Magasamen told Spa Business that the guide will continue to be updated for the foreseeable future, with new monthly articles being published to share creative ideas and activities.

“We’re still working on the guide as we’re still very much in the middle of this pandemic, trying to figure out how to live and breathe and make the most of a difficult situation.”
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