Most people don’t pick up a coloring book, paintbrush, poetry collection or museum membership for their health. But research shows that art experiences rewire our brains and trigger the release of neurochemicals, hormones and endorphins. Growing evidence shows that art can radically improve both physical and mental health, and more health care practitioners are prescribing arts engagement as part of treating obesity, heart disease, chronic pain, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, loneliness and depression. The power of diverse arts practices to promote healing, well-being and even longevity provides benefits equal to exercise, nutrition and sleep, says authors Susan Magsamen and Bianca Bosker.

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