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The Telegraph

Art does heal: scientists say appreciating creative works can fight off disease

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

People visit the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Photo: Getty

The healing power of art and nature could be real after scientists discovered they boost your immune system.

Seeing such spine-tingling wonders as the Grand Canyon and Sistine Chapel or listening to Schubert’s Ave Maria can fight off disease, say scientists.

Great nature and art boost the immune system by lowering levels of chemicals that cause inflammation that can trigger diabetes, heart attacks and other illnesses.


Monet’s Water Lily Pond paintings

In two separate experiments on more than 200 young adults reported on a given day the extent to which they had experienced such positive emotions as amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride.

 

Samples of gum and cheek tissue – known as oral mucosal transudate – taken that same day showed those who experienced more of these – in particular wonder and amazement – had the lowest levels of the cytokine Interleukin 6 which is a marker of inflammation.

Psychologist Dr Dacher Keltner, of California University in Berkeley, said: “That awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.”

 

 

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