Music listening can have a positive effect on anxiety, stress and pain reduction among patients.

Integrating visual arts in hospital design found clinical benefits. Visual arts can help to reduce anxiety and depression amongst cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Creative writing on an emotional topic 30-min a day for 4-days led to an improvement in HIV-viral loads immediately and over a 6-month period.

Reflective writing can help physicians to develop empathy for patients.


  • Music listening over two months is associated with improvement in focused attention, verbal memory, levels of depression in post-stroke recovery; but hard to know if this is specifically because of the music or just an enjoyable stimulus in general.


R. Staricoff (2004) Arts in health: a review of the medical literature,Research Report 36, London: Arts Council England

S. Tsegaye et al (2016) Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives, Createquity.

G. Crossick & P. Kaszynska (2016) Understanding the value of arts & culture: The AHRC cultural value project,London: Arts & Humanities Research Council.

H. Bungay & T. Vella-Burrows (2013) “The effects of participating in creative activities on the health and well-being of children and young people: a rapid review of the literature,” Perspectives in Public Health 133(1): 44-52. 

K. Petrie et al (2004) “Effect of Written Emotional Expression on Immune Function in Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: A Randomized Trial”, Psychosomatic Medicine66: 272-275.

T.Särkämöet al (2008) “Music listening enhances cognitive recovery and mood after middle cerebral artery stroke,”Brain131: 866-876.