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How does art therapy work on the brain?

How does art therapy work on the brain?

As therapists and writers who specialize in selling paint-by-numbers kits, we understand the importance of art therapy for brain wellness. In this article, we will explain how practicing art therapy has a beneficial effect on the brain, regardless of age.

How the brain is affected by art

Art therapy has several positive effects on the brain. Here are some of the ways that practicing art therapy can affect our brains:

Reduces stress

Art therapy is an effective way to reduce stress. Scientific studies, such as the one published in the article "The Effects of Art Making on Stress Hormones" [1], show that engaging in art activities can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone.

Increases concentration

Practicing art therapy improves concentration. When we focus on creating art, our minds focus on details and nuances, which promotes sustained attention. It is as if our brain enters a state of flux where it is fully absorbed in the artistic activity.

Allows us to express our emotions

Art therapy offers a space to express our emotions in a non-verbal way. Sometimes words are not enough to communicate our deepest feelings. By using colors, shapes and textures, we can bring our emotions to life and externalize them in a liberating way.

Allows us to better anticipate the future

The regular practice of art therapy develops our ability to anticipate the future. By experimenting with different artistic techniques and exploring our creativity, we stimulate our mental flexibility and our ability to find innovative solutions. This results in an improvement in our ability to anticipate and solve problems in our daily lives.

Art activates the reward pathways in our brain

When we create art, our brain releases chemicals related to pleasure and reward. It is as if our brain is rewarded with a rush of happiness every time we make art. This stimulation of reward pathways enhances our motivation and engagement in art therapy.

Art and Neuroscience

The relationship between art and neuroscience is increasingly being explored by researchers. Neuroscientific studies have shown that art stimulates several areas of the brain, including those related to visual perception, fine motor skills and emotional expression.

These scientific findings support the benefits of art therapy on brain function. For example, when we paint or draw, our brain activates the areas responsible for coordinating movements and manipulating art tools. In addition, our brain is also stimulated to recognize and interpret the shapes, colors and emotions expressed in our creation.

In studying the effects of art on the brain, neuroscientists have also found that regular art practice can promote neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to remodel itself and form new neural connections. This brain plasticity is essential for learning, adaptation and recovery from brain injury.

In addition, the combination of art and therapy offers additional benefits. Therapeutic art interventions can be adapted to various neurological and psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and Alzheimer's disease. By using art as a means of expression and communication, individuals can improve their emotional well-being, self-esteem and quality of life.


In conclusion, art therapy has a positive influence on the brain, regardless of age. By reducing stress, improving concentration, allowing for emotional expression, promoting anticipation of the future, and activating reward pathways, art therapy provides a space for healing and personal growth. Neuroscience research supports these benefits by showing how art engages different regions of the brain and promotes brain plasticity. Whether you are young or old, get caught up in art therapy and discover the lasting benefits it can bring to your mind and life.

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