Art for Healing

Posted by Harriet Hodgson @harriethodgson1, Oct 26, 2018

Kudos to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art for allowing physicians to write prescriptions for free admission to the museum. And kudos to Mayo Clinic for its art program. From the beginning, Mayo Clinic believed that art can uplift patients and foster healing. Whether it’s Rochester, Jacksonville or Scottsdale, Mayo Clinic displays a wide range of artwork for patients. The Rochester site published a brochure for a self-guided tour of artwork. I live in Rochester and every time I’m at Mayo, I take the time to look at the artwork.

Thanks for the like.

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A great idea … prescribing a museum visit … I forwarded it to the Rochester Act Center

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Great idea to forward it to the art center. Thanks Steve.

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@jenniferhunter

Sometimes words are just not enough to say thank you. I am a fine artist. For a couple years, I had been unable to control my brushes and was in constant pain because of spinal cord compression in my neck. I stopped painting because I couldn't produce the quality of work that I expected. I was getting worse and couldn't find a surgeon to help me until I came to Mayo Clinic and met Dr. Jeremy Fogelson. As the days drew closer to my surgery, I had to find a way to be confident and calm, so I used sketching and listening to music to relax. I had been drawing pencil sketches of Dr. Fogelson as my own art therapy to help me on my journey. It helped me get to know him in my own way. I did other things to confront my fears as well, but I always returned to art and music when I needed to escape for awhile. I was calm on my surgery day and everything I did to prepare myself worked like a charm. While I was recovering, I wanted to paint again and to create something for my surgeon. Prior to my surgery, I was loosing what I cherished most, and my surgeon returned that gift to me.

I called his nurse and we arranged for my followup appointment to be on his surgery day, so I could get photos of him in his scrubs. He enjoyed posing for my camera in the exam room for a few minutes and even made me laugh. I had to work out how to match the photos of him with my photos of the Plummer building to make it look believable. I put the history of Mayo behind him with the beautiful carved doors of the historic building, and that was a challenge to draw and paint them in accurate detail.

It took about a month to create this watercolor painting, and I would have to take breaks and lay down to rest when my muscles fatigued. At my one year followup, I hid the finished painting behind the curtain in the exam room until we finished the exam part of the appointment, and then Dr. Fogelson saw this for the first time. It was a complete surprise to him and he loved it. I really painted this for both of us… to say thank you when words were not enough, and to challenge myself to see if I could do it since it had been so long since I had been able to paint. I'm honored to know that he will enjoy this for years to come. I makes me feel good to be able to do this for someone who gave me back the ability to do the job, and knowing how much it meant to him is priceless.

Art has healing power, and creating art takes that one step further for me. I told Dr. Fogelson that there was an emotional side to healing and recovery, and for me that was to overcome the fears that had help me back in my life. Facing major surgery has a way of bringing all of that into focus. This was truly life changing for me in many ways. All of my experiences at Mayo, and my courage are all in that painting. It also represents the talent, the kindness and compassion of my surgeon. At Mayo, medicine is an art. It's also true that art is medicine.

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What an amazing gift to an amazing doctor from an equally amazing patient, @jenniferhunter! Thank you sooo much for sharing that moment with all of us!

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@hopeful33250

What an amazing gift to an amazing doctor from an equally amazing patient, @jenniferhunter! Thank you sooo much for sharing that moment with all of us!

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@hopeful33250 Thank you for your kind words. I'm very happy to share my story and hope that I can inspire other patients who are struggling to get through their own medical challenges. I agree, I was amazed by my experience too and think very highly of my surgeon for both his expertise and for being the down to earth kind person that he is. That is so important in a patient doctor relationship. I saw other surgeons before coming to Mayo who made me nervous and didn't want to answer my questions, and it's hard to trust your life to a person who doesn't try to have a compassionate relationship with the patient or who will not give you any choices about the procedure. They all decided against helping me and wouldn't take the time to understand (or accept) the complexity of my case. I think compassion goes a long way toward healing, and also having the patience to get the diagnosis and surgical procedure right. I've had wonderful results from my surgery. I wanted to be able to celebrate my surgeons ability, and to give him something he will see everyday that makes him feel good. Doctors are human and need to relax and enjoy life outside of their profession, and I wanted to be able to do something about that, and to be the patient that he will never forget because of gratitude. Doctors have stressful jobs, but we as patients can change some of that in the way we relate to our doctors. This painting will be something his family and heirs will cherish which makes me happy. Even before I painted the portrait, we had ordered the special carved gold leafed frame in order to get it in time. Dr. Fogelson trusted me in that recommendation and he chose the nicest frame from the options I gave him. I know this is just as meaningful to him as it is to me, and I am honored that he will enjoy the original in his home, and a framed print of it for his office. I'm getting that ready now and looking forward to bringing that up to him at Mayo.

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@jenniferhunter

@hopeful33250 Thank you for your kind words. I'm very happy to share my story and hope that I can inspire other patients who are struggling to get through their own medical challenges. I agree, I was amazed by my experience too and think very highly of my surgeon for both his expertise and for being the down to earth kind person that he is. That is so important in a patient doctor relationship. I saw other surgeons before coming to Mayo who made me nervous and didn't want to answer my questions, and it's hard to trust your life to a person who doesn't try to have a compassionate relationship with the patient or who will not give you any choices about the procedure. They all decided against helping me and wouldn't take the time to understand (or accept) the complexity of my case. I think compassion goes a long way toward healing, and also having the patience to get the diagnosis and surgical procedure right. I've had wonderful results from my surgery. I wanted to be able to celebrate my surgeons ability, and to give him something he will see everyday that makes him feel good. Doctors are human and need to relax and enjoy life outside of their profession, and I wanted to be able to do something about that, and to be the patient that he will never forget because of gratitude. Doctors have stressful jobs, but we as patients can change some of that in the way we relate to our doctors. This painting will be something his family and heirs will cherish which makes me happy. Even before I painted the portrait, we had ordered the special carved gold leafed frame in order to get it in time. Dr. Fogelson trusted me in that recommendation and he chose the nicest frame from the options I gave him. I know this is just as meaningful to him as it is to me, and I am honored that he will enjoy the original in his home, and a framed print of it for his office. I'm getting that ready now and looking forward to bringing that up to him at Mayo.

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@jenniferhunter
I can tell from your post that you are insightful and kind. I appreciate your contributions to Mayo Connect!

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@hopeful33250

@jenniferhunter
I can tell from your post that you are insightful and kind. I appreciate your contributions to Mayo Connect!

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@hopeful33250 Thanks, Teresa! It's nice to be appreciated.

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For those who havene't seen the art work at Mayo that's seems to be everywhere, here is an article with some of it. I really liked the Dale Chihuly glass that hangs over a staircase in the Gonda building. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/10/24/mayo-clinic-art-collection-healing-medicine-

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I bought this book last time I was at Mayo about their art collection. https://marketplace.mayoclinic.com/shop/merchandise/book/art-healing-at-mayo-clinic_m715719

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You have only talked about fine arts and forgot about practical arts. Not everyone is good at fine arts and we do not realize just how important practical arts are in therapy and in our lives. When I was sent to rehab after my two strokes the first thing I ask friends for were large knitting needles and yarn. I knew that if I did not start knitting I would just lie there and do nothing. (When the doctors discharged me from the hospital they did not know if I needed Hospice or Palliative Care they had done all they could.) I started knitting a scarf two weeks after I entered rehab, I knitted up a storm and got back most of my mobility, I still can not use chopsticks.

There are many more practical arts that are overlooked for many reasons and are just as therapeutic as fine arts. We do not consider typing as an art, laying out a page for a magazine or book is very artistic. We do not set type anymore, it is done on the keyboard. I still do not know the keyboard like I once did but I am getting better. Even coloring is therapeutic, using colored pencils helped me write. Just holding a pencil or pen and get it to do what you want it to do and where is not easy. Then there is working with wood. I do not trust myself with a power saw so I will not go there. I use a microwave to fix most of my meals, I do not feel comfortable with a gas stove.

Sorry, when I get into all the practical arts that are overlooked, I go on and on.Yes, fine arts are important and so are practical arts in therapy and in our lives.
mlmcg

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@mlmcg

You have only talked about fine arts and forgot about practical arts. Not everyone is good at fine arts and we do not realize just how important practical arts are in therapy and in our lives. When I was sent to rehab after my two strokes the first thing I ask friends for were large knitting needles and yarn. I knew that if I did not start knitting I would just lie there and do nothing. (When the doctors discharged me from the hospital they did not know if I needed Hospice or Palliative Care they had done all they could.) I started knitting a scarf two weeks after I entered rehab, I knitted up a storm and got back most of my mobility, I still can not use chopsticks.

There are many more practical arts that are overlooked for many reasons and are just as therapeutic as fine arts. We do not consider typing as an art, laying out a page for a magazine or book is very artistic. We do not set type anymore, it is done on the keyboard. I still do not know the keyboard like I once did but I am getting better. Even coloring is therapeutic, using colored pencils helped me write. Just holding a pencil or pen and get it to do what you want it to do and where is not easy. Then there is working with wood. I do not trust myself with a power saw so I will not go there. I use a microwave to fix most of my meals, I do not feel comfortable with a gas stove.

Sorry, when I get into all the practical arts that are overlooked, I go on and on.Yes, fine arts are important and so are practical arts in therapy and in our lives.
mlmcg

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@mlmcg so true as there are many ways to be creative. I am sorry if you felt this thread was being partial to the fine arts. I cannot use knitting needles, but I can use chop sticks. Hopefully more can share their ways of being creative and how this helps through hard times. Doubtful anyone was thinking exclusively the fine arts as there are days that getting out of bed is an art for me!!

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@mlmcg

You have only talked about fine arts and forgot about practical arts. Not everyone is good at fine arts and we do not realize just how important practical arts are in therapy and in our lives. When I was sent to rehab after my two strokes the first thing I ask friends for were large knitting needles and yarn. I knew that if I did not start knitting I would just lie there and do nothing. (When the doctors discharged me from the hospital they did not know if I needed Hospice or Palliative Care they had done all they could.) I started knitting a scarf two weeks after I entered rehab, I knitted up a storm and got back most of my mobility, I still can not use chopsticks.

There are many more practical arts that are overlooked for many reasons and are just as therapeutic as fine arts. We do not consider typing as an art, laying out a page for a magazine or book is very artistic. We do not set type anymore, it is done on the keyboard. I still do not know the keyboard like I once did but I am getting better. Even coloring is therapeutic, using colored pencils helped me write. Just holding a pencil or pen and get it to do what you want it to do and where is not easy. Then there is working with wood. I do not trust myself with a power saw so I will not go there. I use a microwave to fix most of my meals, I do not feel comfortable with a gas stove.

Sorry, when I get into all the practical arts that are overlooked, I go on and on.Yes, fine arts are important and so are practical arts in therapy and in our lives.
mlmcg

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Thank you for this post. I'm a huge booster of practical arts and thank you for adding them to this discussion. I, too, could go on and on about the benefits of practical arts.

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@mlmcg

You have only talked about fine arts and forgot about practical arts. Not everyone is good at fine arts and we do not realize just how important practical arts are in therapy and in our lives. When I was sent to rehab after my two strokes the first thing I ask friends for were large knitting needles and yarn. I knew that if I did not start knitting I would just lie there and do nothing. (When the doctors discharged me from the hospital they did not know if I needed Hospice or Palliative Care they had done all they could.) I started knitting a scarf two weeks after I entered rehab, I knitted up a storm and got back most of my mobility, I still can not use chopsticks.

There are many more practical arts that are overlooked for many reasons and are just as therapeutic as fine arts. We do not consider typing as an art, laying out a page for a magazine or book is very artistic. We do not set type anymore, it is done on the keyboard. I still do not know the keyboard like I once did but I am getting better. Even coloring is therapeutic, using colored pencils helped me write. Just holding a pencil or pen and get it to do what you want it to do and where is not easy. Then there is working with wood. I do not trust myself with a power saw so I will not go there. I use a microwave to fix most of my meals, I do not feel comfortable with a gas stove.

Sorry, when I get into all the practical arts that are overlooked, I go on and on.Yes, fine arts are important and so are practical arts in therapy and in our lives.
mlmcg

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Hello @mlmcg, I agree with both you and @parus. Art takes many forms and knitting, crocheting, needle point, embroidery are all art experiences. I read an article sometime ago (I looked for it but could not find it) about the use of the hands as being therapeutic for people both mentally as well as physically.

So let's all get out our crayons, knitting needles, colored pencils, calligraphy pens as well as our paint brushes and drawing boards and let's create for the health of it!

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@hopeful33250

Hello @mlmcg, I agree with both you and @parus. Art takes many forms and knitting, crocheting, needle point, embroidery are all art experiences. I read an article sometime ago (I looked for it but could not find it) about the use of the hands as being therapeutic for people both mentally as well as physically.

So let's all get out our crayons, knitting needles, colored pencils, calligraphy pens as well as our paint brushes and drawing boards and let's create for the health of it!

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Love your reply. I express my creativeness with writing, cooking, and speaking.

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