Meetings in Saudi Arabia set roadmap for ‘Healing Arts Arabia’

Jameel Arts & Health Lab is set to launch in Saudi Arabia in 2024, following October's 'Healing Arts Arabia' in Jeddah and Riyadh, which included roundtable discussions supported by the Ministries of Health and Culture of Saudi Arabia.

Christopher Bailey, co-founder, Jameel Arts & Health Lab, says, "When you listen to a concert or go to a gallery, the endorphins kick in, which actually help support, and reward, a feeling of connection to others. It helps support the building of community. It’s one of those things I think we knew, intuitively, for thousands of years. But the difference now is that there’s an emerging science that shows the mechanism behind it.”


Does art — be it orchestral music or a landscape painting — possess healing powers? Many, including medical practitioners, believe it does. Over the past few years, physicians in Belgium and Canada have experimented with sending patients on museum visits, as part of ‘social prescribing,’ to improve their wellbeing and mental health.

Another great believer in the integration of art and healing is Christopher Bailey, who trained as a professional actor and is the co-founder of the Healing Arts Initiative at the World Health Organization. 

“A deep aesthetic experience has an analgesic effect,” Bailey, who is based in Geneva, told Arab News. “It lowers pain, cortisol levels, and your stress goes down. It puts you into a more healing state. There are some very specific examples of a physical or medical effect. In the case of sickle cell anemia in Africa, for example, the malformed blood cells of this genetic disorder clump up like a blood dam in the joints, which causes very painful swelling. So, when you are listening to music that deeply affects you, the dopamine of that aesthetic experience actually dilates the blood vessels, relieving the pain and the swelling.

Arab News

Related news