Art Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Getting Creative Can Help

Art Therapy for Rheumatoid ArthritisAs you know, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has a strongly negative, wide-spread impact on your life. The discomfort, tenderness and tightness in your joints will limit some abilities and make others completely impossible to perform. As if the physical discomfort isn’t bad enough, it takes your mental health, social health and spiritual health and distorts them to be less desirable. People with RA often report lower quality of life following the diagnosis. RA makes everything worse.

Since RA assaults your body and mind on a number of levels, you need specialized treatment. Rather than seeking a treatment modality that focuses on one part of you, you should set your eyes on a treatment that improves your health on multiple levels. RA forces you to be creative with your treatment options. There is no better way to be creative than with art therapy.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is not a single type of treatment for someone with RA. Just like art itself is hard to limit or define, art therapy is the same. Art therapy is an inclusive term that covers many types of beneficial actions. If something involves music, painting, writing, sculpting, dance or producing anything creative, chances are good that it can be part of art therapy for RA.

At times, art therapy is broken down into subcategories including expressive writing, movement-based creative expression, visual arts therapy, and music engagement. Art therapy has been proven to benefit a range of psychological and physical health issues including chronic pain, trauma, and the effects of cancer treatment. In coming years, you can expect to see art therapy used more regularly in association with other treatments and by itself.


For the best results, seek out a trained and licensed art therapist. These are people that have obtained a certain level of education and practical experience to be proficient at art therapy. They can assess your RA symptoms as well as other physical or emotional facets factoring into your pain. They will develop a treatment plan designed for your needs and begin sessions to move towards goal completion. Frequency and duration of treatment depend on your goals and symptoms.

Appling Art Therapy at Home

Unfortunately, not everyone will have art therapist availability close to home. Additionally, some insurances may not reimburse the use of art therapy in certain situations. But don’t let this be an excuse to give up on the idea of using the arts to treat your RA. Again, it only means that you need to get creative. Consider the following ways to use art in your life based on the categories of art therapy used above:

Music Engagement

When it comes to adding art therapy into your life, there is no simpler way than music engagement. Though its name might seem intricate, music engagement really only means listening to music. Studies have found that listening to music helps add relaxation and improve overall well-being ratings.

Additionally, music engagement assists in limiting anxiety, which is valuable since many people with RA report increased anxiety. It can also reduce physical tension. With less physical tension, there is a chance to improve your perception of RA pain.

To use music as art therapy, set aside time to make music the priority and avoid multitasking. Listen to the music and appreciate what it has to offer. Your selection of music can match your mood, or it can express feelings that you find more desirable. Thirty minutes later, you may feel better than before.

Next Page: More ways to apply art therapy at home.

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