September 6, 2012 - Do you feel energized after having attended a concert or a play?
Our own Value of Presenting Survey of the General Public revealed that 'bringing energy and vitality' is perceived by Canadians to be the top benefit of having performing arts presented in one's community. Such a finding was corroborating other Canadian reports that had come to similar conclusions: the Summative Evaluation of the Arts Presentation Canada Program (2008), and Developing and Revitalizing Rural Communities Through Arts and Culture (2009).
A recent Health Promotion Research Forum held in Norway brought into light more evidences of links between performing arts attendance and increased vitality, this time among individuals.
One research found that fine arts stimulation – attending films, concerts, or art exhibitions, or singing in a choir – improved perceived physical health, social functioning, and vitality (L.O. Bygren et al, Cultural participation and health: a randomized controlled trial among medical care staff, 2009). Participants' vitality was measured with questions on their level of energy or tiredness.
Another research found that attending cultural events increased participants' perceived vitality (T. Theorell et al, A note on designing evaluations of health effects of cultural activities at work, 2009). Participants self-rated their vitality using a visual analog scale ranging from extreme tiredness on the left hand side to extreme vitality. Theatre and music performances showed the highest increases in vitality, while dance performances and movies showed smaller increases.
Based on these research findings, increases in vitality appear to be one of the strongest benefit of arts presentation, both at the community and the individual level. Moreover, these findings provide further evidence of a cause-to-effect relationship between arts attendance and health.
- Singing increases energy, joy and elatedness. In particular, singing increases the level of oxytocin, also known as the "love hormone." Read more
- Listening to music after a surgery reduces postoperative pain. Read more
- Singing in a choir improves the health of older adults and reduces doctor visits. Read more
- Music education reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) levels among elementary school students. Read more
Dancing provides emotional benefits and increases self-esteem. In particular, beneficial effects were found related to the emotional dimension, as well as physical, social and spiritual dimensions. In addition, the positive benefits were also linked to self-esteem and coping strategies. Read more
- Cultural activities at work have a statistical association with mental employee health. There are particularly pronounced statistical protective effects of frequent cultural activity at work on likelihood of emotional exhaustion among employees. Read more
- Attendance at cultural events was found to significantly reduce diastolic blood pressure in participants. Read more
Prepared by Frédéric Julien, for CAPACOA
Posted: September 6, 2012; revised: October 25, 2012
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