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Italian case study suggests enjoying artwork can lower the body's stress level by 60 percent

Art appreciation

(NaturalNews) People who appreciate art will be quick to tell you the many reasons behind their passion, but now it appears that scientific research backs many aficionados' claims that art has a soothing and relaxing effect.

A recent study of 100 visitors to the Basilica of Vicoforte. measured the effects of art on people's stress levels. The 18th-century basilica, which is situated in Cuneo in northern Italy, is a destination for art aficionados and pilgrims alike.

Before going inside the church, researchers measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in participants' saliva. The people involved in the study were of various ages, genders and IQ levels.

They spent two hours inside the building, ascending 200 feet to its apex, which involved climbing more than 200 steps. The basilica's elliptical cupola is the largest in the world. The basilica features 18th-century frescoes with winged angels, cherubs and bearded prophets.

Huge drop in levels of stress hormone cortisol

Following their tour, participants' saliva was tested again. Their cortisol levels had dropped on average by a remarkable 60 percent.

Professor Enzo Grossi told La Repubblica: "More than 90 per cent of the participants said they felt much better at the end of the experience.

"The idea of art as therapy is not new. But this is the first time that the beneficial effect of art on health has been measured."

This is not the first time that Renaissance art has been linked with health benefits. In fact, the phenomenon is known in some circles as "Stendhal Syndrome," after the great 19th-century French author, who described a near-religious experience upon viewing Florentine art in the early 1800s.

Art therapy boasts a number of benefits

Participating in art can also be incredibly therapeutic, regardless of a person's skill level. A study in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that art therapy reduced a number of pain and anxiety-related symptoms in people suffering from cancer, after spending just an hour working on art projects. Eight out of the nine symptoms measured improvement, with the exception of nausea. Those who were unable to use their hands to make art themselves, either directed the art therapist on how they wanted it to be done, or looked at photographic images of art and discussed them.

Other studies have shown that engagement with visual arts could result in shorter hospital says and a reduced need for pain medication. For example, in one study, critical care or surgery patients who had a landscape picture on their wall needed less narcotic pain medications than those who did not, and were also able to leave the hospital sooner.

This is news that the makers of anxiety and depression medications do not want people to know. The truth is, there are countless natural cures that can help people with a broad variety of ailments, both physical and psychological. Whether it's art therapy, music therapy, meditation, yoga, or simply connecting more with nature, there are many effective ways to bring about healing that cannot be found in your local pharmacy.

Of course, Big Pharma does not want you to know that, so they do their best to keep these studies from being widely publicized, and continue to encourage doctors to push their dangerous drugs on patients, while bullying and silencing those who speak out against them.

The Natural Medicine, Healing and Wellness Summit is helping to spread the word about the many great cures found in nature. Even foods such as green tea, salmon and almonds can help reduce stress.

There is no doubt that stress can be extremely harmful to a person's health, and seeking out safe ways to alleviate it can have tremendous benefits for a person's well-being.

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