Radio 4

Do the arts have a role in health?

In this 30 minute radio programme broadcast in 2006, Dr Mark Porter looks at how arts and health activities are helping to improve people’s health and well-being, and talks to experts in the field including:

* Mike White from the Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health & Medicine. Mike gives an overview of arts and health, and explains that it is not the same as arts therapy [15 minutes in]. Arts in health focuses more often on a holistic approach, providing different and distinct benefits which are related to participation, social connectedness, and wider wellbeing.

* Professor Paul Robertson, visiting professor of music and medicine at the Peninsula Medical School, who has studied the effect of music on the brain [8 minutes in]. He is joined by a member of Sound Minds, a music group for people with mental health problems. Professor Robertson talks about music’s ability to reshape our experience of ourselves, its link to the brain’s opiod system and other neuro-transmitters which deliver wellbeing, a sense of identity, and social identity. He makes the ‘simplistic’ point that drug companies work on the basis of a 1% effectiveness of delivery (in justifying the marketing of a drug) yet research has shown that music delivers 30% effectiveness in terms of mental health [21 minutes in].

Dr Porter also visits Bristol Children’s Hospital to see how art is being used to improve the environment and support healing, and talks to John Ryan, about his stand-up show Hurt Until it Laughs, aimed at persuading men to seek health advice.





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